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The Independent Critic

Scot Michael Walker, Robb Hudspeth, Alisha Revel, Kristen McCullough
Scot Michael Walker
120 Mins.

 "Rockin' Reverend" an Entertaining and Surprisingly Heartfelt Indie Flick 
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Covering the world of indie cinema is always a mixed bag experience. It's incredibly true that not just anyone can watch a low-budget indie flick with an open mind and objectivity. In addition to serving up an abundance of new and up-and-coming film makers, indie cinema requires a certain movie-going discipline that requires you to check your Hollywood mentality at the box-office.

When it comes to low-budget indies, it's not unreasonable to expect an inconsistent sound mix, occasional visual miscues and tech issues that are not usually experienced with multimillion dollar budgeted films.

Rockin' Reverend is an indie film, and while it's budget definitely surpasses that of many of the indies reviewed by The Independent Critic, the simple truth is that it's a passion project for writer/director/star Scot Michael Walker, who financed the film and is pushing it like crazy along the indie fest circuit.

He's doing so successfully, as well. Walker's script for the film was 2nd Runner-Up in the Screenplay Competition at the Beverly Hills Film Festival, and I have a feeling its prize-winning journey isn't over yet.

Rockin' Reverend is a rockin' and irreverently dark comedy about a man named Robert (Scot Michael Walker) who stumbles across, or should I say into, a potential moneymaking idea while bargaining for sex with his Christian girlfriend (Alisha Revel). After figuring out that his girlfriend's preacher (David Lambert) is driving a fancy schmantzy Hummer paid for by the sins of his congregation, he joins with buddy Gary (Robb Hudspeth) in starting his own uniquely styled church out of a local homeless shelter. What seems like a stroke of genius quickly attracts not so positive attention from those in his life, but the Rockin' Reverend is suddenly on a serious roll.

While Rockin' Reverend occasionally shows its indie roots in production areas, what modest challenges Walker encounters production-wise are largely made up for with a willingness to go darker, funnier and more over-the-top than one usually finds in this type of film. This is the type of film that only the indie world could produce - not because it's so incredibly sacrilegious, but because it's so relentlessly poking fun at religion and people that a good majority of studios would be scared out of their wits to even touch the film.

Walker's a hoot as our dear ole' rockin rev, a guy who is scorned by his ex, adored by his kid and who has that sort of "every guy" charm that it's easily understandable and believable that he could pull off an idea this completely ludicrous. Rather than turning him into a caricature, Walker plays him so completely straight that you can't help but giggle or just plain laugh out loud with just about everything that he does. The film's ensemble cast is for the most part right on the money, and even more delightfully they carry a tone that's perfectly consistent with that of Walker's. In particularly, Alisha Revel's an absolute treasure as the Christian girlfriend who gets to have premarital sex because she confesses her sins on Sunday.

Rockin' Reverend strikes a tone that seems somewhat similar to the underrated Hamlet 2, though this film for the most part avoids adorable kids (with the exception of Adam Walker as Nathan) and just sticks with the relentlessly dark humor with a gooey center. Indeed, amidst all the silliness and dark humor Walker has infused the film with a surprising degree of heartfelt moments that add up to a film that both entertains and leaves a bit of an emotional impact.

D.P. Justin Powers lenses the film quite nicely, giving Rockin' Reverend an energetic vibrancy, while the rest of the film's production crew also performs quite nicely.

For more information on Rockin' Reverend, visit the film's website or Facebook page listed in the credits to the left.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic