The Bottom Line
- Strong cast
- Good production value
- Nice framework of a story
- Little suspense
- Anticlimactic ending
- Story elements not fully developed
- Starring Malcolm McDowell, Chuck Carrington, Hilarie Burton, Will Patton, Pat Hingle, Mary Beth Peil, Elizabeth Omilami
- Directed by Gary Wheeler
- Rated PG
- DVD Release Date: June 10, 2008
Guide Review - 'The List' DVD Review
The List is a supernatural Christian-themed film that puts the "er" in thriller. Based on a novel by Robert Whitlow, it tells the story of Renny, a money-hungry lawyer whose recently deceased father left him a bombshell: his family has been a part of a secret society, the Covenant List of South Carolina, Ltd., since the end of the Civil War.
It seems that after the Battle of Gettysburg helped turn the tide of the war, a group of Southern men smuggled their Confederate gold out of the country, and they've collectively been living off the wealth, stocked away in Swiss accounts.
Membership in the Covenant is passed from father to son, and Renny is thrilled to be thrust into a life of luxury. However, all is not as rosy as it seems. (Having to sign the List in blood should've been a hint.) Renny discovers that misfortune befalls the families on the List, and the head of the group, Desmond Larochette, is power-hungry and desperate to retain his wealth by any means necessary.
I haven't read the book, but I've got to think there's more to it than we see on screen. The evil of the Covenant is dealt with in vague, moralistic terms (greed = bad) that largely skim over the supernatural elements and the origins of the darkness surrounding the List (Satan?).
What could've been something akin to The Devil's Advocate turns into a tepid melodrama fit for the Hallmark Channel. Paradoxically, this thriller seems determined to avoid thrills, with such little urgency in the storytelling that the climactic moment amounts to little more than a stern lecture.
Still, high production value and strong performances from the cast make The List watchable, even if the anticipation of seeing something diabolical never comes to fruition.
Special features include audio commentary, deleted scenes, a featurette and DVD-ROM content.