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Honorable but slack drama, based on real events, in which an escaped prisoner (David Oyelowo) on a murderous rampage takes a drug-addicted diner waitress (Kate Mara) hostage in her home. As the already fragile woman struggles to stay alive, she reads sections of Rick Warren's self-help best-seller, The Purpose Driven Life, to her captor, hoping he'll recognize the positive choices still available to him. Director Jerry Jameson's screen version of Ashley Smith's memoir Unlikely Angel promotes upright, God-centered values, and the general absence of problematic material makes his film acceptable for most mature adolescents. Yet earnest performances from the gifted principals can't compensate entirely for a sluggish pace or the confused, blunted impact of the story's outcome.

Watch out for: Stylized but potentially disturbing gunplay and other violence, including the implicit threat of rape, narcotics use, at least one crass term.

Rated: is A-III, adults; MPAA: PG-13, parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015