1hr 40min | | Documentary | 2015
I’m sure we’ve all seen plenty of inspirational films in our lives—everything from completely fictional fare, such as “The Shawshank Redemption,” to dramatized biopics such as “Hotel Rwanda.” And while there are also many documentaries out there, many of them are either focused on depressing issues that don’t offer any real solutions (such as what I call “addiction porn”) or preachy, finger-wagging films (many environmental documentaries tend to fall under this category).
So when I’d first heard about faith-based producer/director Timothy A. Chey’s new documentary, “The Epic Journey,” I had high hopes that he’d deliver something truly inspiring instead of the usual, well-worn doom and gloom material and condescending puffery. So does it live up to its lofty 9.2 rating on IMDb? Let’s find out…
The film’s two taglines, “Searching God To the Far Side of the World” and “37 Countries. 25 Stories. 1 Amazing God,” should give people an inkling as to what to expect. Chey, his co-host Anna Sims, and their entire crew took on a massive undertaking and traveled all over the world to interview folks whose lives have been touched by the grace of God.
From New York City to Rio De Janeiro, Tokyo, Fiji, Cairo, Jerusalem, London, Paris, Rome, Lima Machu Picchu, Nairobi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, and many other places, the cast and crew covered an expansive amount of ground, to say the least. Thus, there were some logistical issues, which is why it took them three years to produce the entire film. One of the ways they tackled this immense undertaking was to divvy up territories—Chey took most of the Asian countries, while Sims traveled throughout Europe.
Almost immediately, Chey interviews a successful New York stockbroker. The man tells Chey that although he appeared to have it all from the outside, he felt that he was missing something deep inside (similar to Chey’s films “Journey to Hell” and “Tapestry”). In the absence of that “something” missing from his life, the man indulged in considerable amounts of drinking and pill-popping, along with the usual vices that accompany substance abuse such as gambling and loose women.
Then he makes the big leap across the Pacific Ocean to Japan and other Asian countries (plus Oceana), where he meets some fascinating people with incredible stories.
One middle-aged man, Shindo, is a former leader under the Sumiyoshi-kai nationwide Yakuza syndicate, who committed plenty of sins (he was practically swimming in them). During his second stint in prison, a pastor approached Shindo and talked to him about God and the Holy Bible—telling him that he could receive redemption through Jesus Christ.
Shindo put it off for a while but finally let the Lord into his life and made a total conversion to Christianity. That meant cleaning up his life to the extent that his former gangster pals didn’t even recognize him anymore. He expected them to exact revenge on him for breaking off and finding his own path. So, Shindo called them and gave them his address—he told them he was ready to die for Jesus Christ. But miraculously, they left him alone. Now, he helps other former gangsters find the Lord.
Another man living in Paris, France, talks about his wild days as a musician in a Seattle-based punk rock band in the early 90s. Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, combined with a fascination with “Wicca and the occult,” led him down a dark path. So much so, that he began to increasingly witness demonic visions as they crept into his everyday life. He says that the feelings of a dark, oppressive force became so heavy that he cried out for Jesus Christ to save him.
There are many other stories that touch on similar experiences—but they all have a common thread. No matter what the amount of duress, depression, or hazardous environmental conditions they faced, when they sought out Jesus Christ and opened their hearts to Him, their lives were fundamentally changed for the better.
Overall, “The Epic Journey” is a well-produced, soul-searching film about normal, everyday people from around the world who found redemption and salvation through opening their hearts and souls up to God. It also shows how selfless these individuals became after their conversion since they talk about how they now help others who are in need. In conclusion, I now see why this film is so highly rated—I couldn’t recommend it more, for both believers and non-believers alike.
‘The Epic Journey’
Director: Timothy A. Chey
Starring: Timothy A. Chey, Anna Sims, John Malcolm
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Release Date: May 13, 2015
Rated: 5 stars out of 5
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Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.