Flywheel: The Director's Cut
by Phil Boatwright

FILM SYNOPSIS: From Alex Kendrick, the director of Facing the Giants, comes the award-winning family film Flywheel: Director’s Cut. Available on DVD November 13 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, the story concerns a used car salesman, Jay Austin (Kendrick), who will say anything in order to sell a car until the day he cheats his own pastor. Austin becomes disgusted by the masks he wears and lies he tells. While having a classic convertible repaired, the used car dealer begins a humorous and inspiring journey to win back the hearts of his wife, his son, and his community.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Last year, Facing the Giants proved to be the little movie that could. Made by church folk with a budget of $100,000, the spiritually uplifting film proved to be phenomenally successful, both financially and dramatically. And despite an even lower budget, Flywheel is also a phenom. Made before Facing the Giants, it has actually been previously released on video, but this new director’s version has been infused with some Hollywood glimmer with improved color and audio, as well as some edited scenes.

Admittedly, you have to suspend your cinema-going savvy, much the way you do when viewing a play or a vintage TV series, in order to overlook amateurish acting and some blatant, if sincere, manipulation in order to appreciate the production to its fullest. If you do, you’ll find the effort rewarding.

For anyone who has ever purchased a car, there has always been that nagging suspicion that we are being suckered. Indeed, after first leasing, then finally paying off my 1999 Pontiac Grand Am, I have come to the conclusion that I could have bought a Rolls Royce for approximately the same amount. So writers (and real-life pastors) Alex and Stephen Kendrick have picked the perfect symbolic character – a used car salesman – around whom to build a story of redemption.

Alex Kendrick gives a nice performance. It is heartfelt and believable, with touching lessons that give hope that God does indeed care for individuals and that He intervenes and blesses contrite hearts.

Though I’m honest and conscientious in my profession, viewing the film just made me want to strive harder to turn over my work and worries to our Heavenly Father. Though the film signals that your good deeds will someday be acknowledged by man, I’m not sure that’s always the case. However, the film points out that those deeds are seen by the One that counts. I was entertained and blessed by this production and will be viewing it again in order to remind myself that when we live on God’s terms, not our own, then we are truly successful.

Flywheel became a film festival favorite where it won numerous awards, including Best Feature Film at the 2004 Christian WYSIWYG Film Festival, the Bronze Crown at the 2004 ICVM Crown Awards, and Best Screenplay at the 2004 Sabaoth International Film Festival. The bonus features include deleted scenes, bloopers, a behind-the-scenes “making of” documentary, and a director’s commentary. Flywheel: Director’s Cut will be available for the suggested retail price of $19.94.