Brigham City
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: +2

GODS ARMY a well-made film about Mormon missionaries in Los Angles was released in mid 2000. The talented director of that film, Richard Dutcher, creates and stars in another film, this time featuring a small Mormon community in Utah called Brigham. Wes Clayton (Dutcher), the sheriff of the community, is also the bishop for one of the local Mormon churches. As sheriff, he wants desperately to maintain the peaceful, family friendly atmosphere in Brigham. But the town is growing and modern urbanism is encroaching on his territory. Then, the community is shocked into fear and mistrust when a young woman is found murdered on the outskirts of town and other murders follow. Wes sets out to find the perpetrator with the help of his young deputy Terry (Matthew Brown), his perky office assistant Peg (Carrie Morgan), and retired sheriff Stu (Wilford Brimley). He also asks for help from the FBI, who sends in a small team headed by Meredith (Tayva Patch), an attractive, veteran agent. The search for the murderer is intense and suspenseful as more than one town member comes under suspicion. This intriguing and believable whodunit will appeal to both Mormon and non-Mormon murder-mystery fans.

Recent religious-themed films like LEFT BEHIND, MERCY STREETS and CARMAN: THE CHAMPION surprisingly received PG-13 ratings, partly due to depicted violence. The intense nature of the murder-mystery theme and some bloody shooting violence off screen in Dutchers Mormon produced film also earned a PG-13 rating. And a few rough words slip into the dialogue. Interestingly enough, some fairly extended scenes of Mormon church services, including the serving of the "sacrament", are included. But the film depicts Mormons and their services in a neutral, matter-of-fact manner. A distinct, spiritual element is present as the Mormons pray in the name of Jesus Christ and ask for the aid and protection of God. Bishop/Sheriff Clayton very realistically struggles with his faith as he asks God for help in solving the murder case and protecting the citizens, while having very limited success. Unlike GODS ARMY however, there's no strong proselytizing and Mormon doctrines, which vary from mainstream Christianity, are not explored. BRIGHAM CITY proves that a very engrossing movie drama can still be created without the crude and offensive elements of many modern day films.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Distributor: Excel Entertainment Group (Zion Films Production), Salt Lake City, Utah

Crude Language: Twice - Mild and moderate (once each)
Obscene Language: Once - Slang for horse excrement
Profanity: None
Violence: Several times Moderate (two off-screen shootings - bloody surroundings shown, bloody car seat, partial glimpses of dead bodies, woman tied up, rough treatment)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Near nudity - scantily clad women on pornographic magazine covers
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Several times - beer drinking in bar
Other: Cigarette smoking implied to be harmful, Mormon church services and baptism depicted, people pray in Jesus Christs name several times, discussion of being naive to modern surroundings and gaining wisdom by losing innocence, bishop struggles with his faith, no discussion of controversial Mormon doctrine)
Running Time: 119 minutes
Intended Audience: 11 years and older

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