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The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9, New American Standard)
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. ...[W]ork out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 1:6, 2:12-13, NAS)
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21, NAS)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ...The one who says, 'I have come to know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. ...They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. (1 John 1:9, 2:4-6, and 19, NAS)
[H]e that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. (Doctrine and Covenants 42:18)
Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only 'as harmless as doves,' but also 'as wise as serpents.' He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first class fighting trim. (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
Was it the photographer? Was it the construction worker? Was it the construction foreman? Or was it somebody else? Brigham City is a Mormon murder mystery that keeps you guessing throughout. But more than this, it is quite a complex and deep movie on many different levels. It was very disturbing in a positive way--the suspense, the murders, the heartaches that result, as well as the reality that no place is truly safe. These elements certainly draw the viewer in. But having said that, Richard Dutcher (writer, director, and main character) has too many scenes that drag excessively. Other than that, this is a rather entertaining and well-done film that gives a valuable insider's view to a small Mormon community dealing with quite a worrisome situation.
This community has never had a murder in it, and now a serial killer is on the loose. How could something like this happen in such a peaceful town? According to veteran film actor Wilford Brimley, who plays the part of Stu the retired sheriff, "Nothing attracts a serpent like a paradise."
Wes, the current sheriff played by Dutcher, is deeply troubled that his town is losing its Christ-like innocence. The townspeople begin to be skeptical and cautious of each other. This is especially troubling to Wes, since he is also a local LDS bishop. He internalizes all this, and places a guilt trip on himself that he didn't catch this killer sooner. He also seems quite bothered that he himself must lose his child-like faith in order to perform his other duty of physically protecting his flock. Wes wrestles with this conflicting moral situation throughout the movie.
Tragically, Wes is a product of this Mormon community, and it is this community that determines all his outputs. He comes up with the idea of checking for fingerprints on empty beer bottles in the local tavern, since of course the killer must frequent such a "den of iniquity." In attempting to find a missing girl, Wes organizes the men of Brigham to pair up and go door to door just like LDS missionaries. In the midst of this search without a warrant, Wes discovers that one of his parishioners is into porno and takes this guy back to the police station for further questioning. As quirky as all this seems, things like this really go on in "Zion." But this influence on Wes is most clearly seen in the area of blind faith. This religious community's blind faith seriously affects his skill in catching the bad guy(s).
Finally, for more reviews and information on Brigham City, see here.
R. M. Sivulka
March 13, 2004