The Runner of Ravenshead is a delightful family movie
with a wonderful message. Accurately described on the website
as "Pilgrim's Progress meets The Little Rascals," it's an allegorical
story about the "metaphorical prisons and wardens faced in life--things
that seem impossible to escape or outrun."
It's difficult to explain the storyline further without first
touching on what makes it so unique. Every main character in the
story is played by one of the five child actors in the movie, and
not one adult is in the film. When I first realized this, I figured
it would be a great movie for the kids but probably a little "ho
hum" for me. I was wrong! It held my attention throughout, and
I truly enjoyed it.
The opening setting of the movie is actually the dream of one
of the characters and not specifically germane to the film itself.
I note this because, while not a huge flaw by any means, it does
throw off the pace of the storyline a bit as the viewer tries to
pay careful attention to the busy scene, assuming it's key to the
storyline. Knowing this ahead of time would be helpful, which is
why I wanted to mention it.
When the scene switches to reality, we are soon introduced to
Sam, a young girl who is taken to an underground prison called
Ravenshead. There she meets Clyde, a somewhat friendly inmate who
acts as a sort of ringleader for the despondent prisoners. When
Sam expresses her desire to escape, Clyde informs her that escaping
isn't the hard part--staying out is. This perplexes Sam, who breaks
away anyhow and quickly finds out for herself that no matter how
fast she runs, a warden is never far behind her, following with
a firm and unemotional resolve to bring her back.
Soon after Sam escapes, she meets a boy from the City of Refuge
Guide Service. His job is to show her the way to the bridge where
her pursuer cannot go. He can't force her, nor can he interfere
with the warden's attempts to catch her. This is his first assignment
as a guide, a job he has only dreamed of up until now, and there
is no absence of good hearted humor as he bumbles his way along
in his sincere and noble attempts to help her.
The remainder of the film follows Sam's difficult and adventurous
journey to get to the City of Refuge and stop running. We watch
her escape from close calls, discover surprising twists, and ultimately,
enjoy her victory!
While this film really is superbly done, I do want to note a few
possible drawbacks some parents may have with the movie. Because
Sam is fighting against captivity, there is some mild violence
in the film (nothing excessive or gory). To me, it seems an appropriate
metaphor since we do wrestle with and fight against things in our
lives that keep us from progressing in our faith. Another thing
to be aware of is the scene involving a large black dog that could
possibly frighten very little children. The dog never does anything
aggressive, but because he is searching for Sam, the scene is intense.
If you have a little one prone to a fear of dogs, it may be good
to either skip the scene or make sure he or she knows it will turn
When my family and I finished watching the movie, every one of
us, from age 5 to adult, agreed that we thoroughly enjoyed it and
look forward to watching it again. In preparation for my review
of the movie, I did a little research online and soon discovered
that the five child actors are in fact siblings, and the movie
was produced by their parents (Little Crew Studios)! This is the
first movie put out by this talented young family, and I hope there
will be more! The cinematography is very well done, the actors
are believable and entertaining, and the allegories work on many
levels without coming across as preachy. It left me thinking for
a long time about our struggles in this life, how the Lord calls
us to pursue godliness, how His strength is made perfect in our
weakness and how even though our fight against sin will not end
until heaven, we have His grace, help, and love as we journey forward.
I would highly recommend this to any family I know--it is a definite