The Way Home
by Phil Boatwright

FILM SYNOPSIS: New on DVD from Lionsgate, this family-aimed film is based on a true story. The film follows the frantic search by an entire community when a two-year-old boy suddenly goes missing. Starring Dean Cain (TV's Lois & Clark) and Lori Beth Edgeman (TV's Army Wives), the film has a spiritual message concerning love, faith and family.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Hard to view due to the subject of frantic parents looking for a missing child. Has he wondered off, or been kidnapped, or drowned in a local pond? The unknown begins to rattle us as well as the film's characters

Overly long even at 91 minutes, the film is a bit sluggish, and the hand-held camera bouncing and weaving in order to cause tension becomes a distraction. The use of the tripod-less camera has become an overused style, the filmmaker unfamiliar with the phrase, "Less is more."
Once again, we have a film complaining about the busy father, unable to leave work at the office, even while on vacation. This message usually brings out the nagging aspect of the family's matriarch, presenting women in the most unflattering light. That said, it must be a major problem in family life, because one family film after another addresses the subject as if it were an epidemic.

The positive of the true story is the incorporation of a spiritual element. Where Hollywood often refrains from presenting frantic parents turning to Christ through prayer, writer/director Lance W. Dressen brings reality to his production by presenting a God-conscious community unabashed in their reverence for their Creator.

Though occasionally heavy-handed in delivery, the message is solid, the movie moving.

Rated PG for thematic elements, but I caught no objectionable material. 91 min. Closed captioned and with special features.

Interested in seeing how a filmmaker raised tension without the use of the bouncing camera? Try renting any film by Alfred Hitchcock. My choice here, dealing with a missing child, The Man Who Knew Too Much. This tense Hitchcock thriller has James Stewart and Doris Day desperately searching for their kidnapped son while attempting to foil the plans to assassinate a diplomat.