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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Salvation Celebration

Pawn Shop Chronicles on IMDb

Plot Overview

Bible answer manAs the county fair approaches, Irwin, Georgia is seeing an influx of visitors. A street preacher (Sam Hennings) is capitalizing (“Hello, sir”) on the opportunity to get his message across (“Is your soul saved?”) with little success (“F_ck off!”) He figures, “I really got to work on my message.” He stations him­self out­side a bar at night under the sign Crossroads. As “Met at the Cross­roads” plays in the back­ground Ricky Baldowski (Brendan Fraser) a down-on-his-luck Elvis imper­son­ator happens by who mistakes the preacher's revised message that he'll satisfy his soul in ways that material success cannot for the devil's offer of material success in exchange for his soul. He demurs to consult his mother who advises him to reject Satan's offer and quit “playing the devil's music.”

eye trimhandshakeA misguided Ricky needs to have his side­burns trimmed for the show and to get baptized for the preacher. Doc's barber­shop is recommended because, so say some, “Doc invented scissors,” while others recommend Cook's because, “Cook invented the bowl cut.” It is evident that Doc's scissors can fully immerse them­selves in the star's shaggy head, that Cook can sprinkle water from his bowl, and that the town's ongoing controversy over barbers represents that of Christians over forms of baptism—there's even a baby buggy to evoke infant baptism. Ricky works some­thing out for him­self and on the verge of bombing his show, he accepts the preacher's offer as many do only when they've hit rock (Ouch!) bottom. As Elvis played gospel as well as “devil's music,” it remains to be seen what happens.

integrated poolMeanwhile, three tweakers Randy (Kevin Rankin,) Raw Dog (Paul Walker,) and Vernon (Lukas Haas) are planning to rob their supplier Stanley (Norman Reedus) at gun­point and let the noise from the nearby fair mask the hit. Randy conversing with fellow white suprema­cist Raw Dog come to a starting discovery: they don't hate black people or Jews, the only reason they go to the Aryan Confederacy meetings is they like the little smokey wieners served after­wards. What is this world coming to? A flagging singer sells his soul to a preacher to achieve success, and white supremacists who've got black & Jew friends still go to the meetings for the treats. So these open-minded southerners accept a soul sister act at the fair, later providing needed backup for “Elvis.” Salvation is open to all races.

talkingKaboom!Vernon gets him­self decked out in a field and “THE [other­worldly] MAN” (Thomas Jane) comes to render assistance (“I'm offering you salvation.”) Vernon concedes, “salvation comes in many forms. Today, it rolled up in a 4x4.” He gives Vernon his shot­gun for the needed fire­power on his job and for fire­works for the show. There is clearly to be rejoicing in heaven when a soul gets saved.

ole gloryBible JimRichard (Matt Dillon) from Connecticut and his new bride Sandy stop by General Lee's Pawn Shop (“It was like God brought me there”) to do a deal to help finance their honey­moon in Orlando. There he discovers under glass an engraved ring he'd given to his first wife Cyndi (Pell James) who'd mysteriously disappeared six years ago and hadn't been seen since. He goes on a quest to find her, which leads to the liberation of “an army of naked zombie women” (“we're not allowed to wear clothes”) who draped in flags will line the front of the stage like groupies, embodying the elevation of women's status God's salvation has brought.


making a listThe movie opened with the pawn shop proprietor Alton (Vincent D'Onofrio) complaining to a (black) hanger-on Johnson (Chi McBride) about an off season display: “Need to get the Santa out of here. Number one, it's spring. It's not winter. Spring.” Spring is the season for Santa to make up his naughty & nice lists by spying on people, which is what we do through­out the film. Santa's
giftSecondly, Santa ain't black. If Alton catches a black dude in red leotards entering through his chimney, he tells us, he'll shoot him in his red hat. So much for white supremacy reform.

The three robbers meet in a remote field because it's top secret. The Man who supplies their weapon is a stranger. Randy is trying to figure out who robbed his cache from his sock drawer and blames the wrong person. clown maskVernon the robbery victim recognizes their voices through their masks. “Elvis” can't figure out the town's barber shop deal (Doc: “I don't know how they cut hair in the big city, but here that's it.”) Alton doesn't know who's stalking him from a truck with tinted windows, but his customer JJ (DJ Qualls) warns him not to shoot the guy, because crime forensics will find him out (“They always find the killer.”) Richard uses every means to unravel the thread of the ring mystery. Cyndi the new wife is stunned when he dumps her with little or no explanation (“I already have a wife.”) The real mystery, of course, is the legend of Robert Johnson a mediocre guitar player in Mississippi who went away to return a hot guitar man. It is rumored he made a deal with the devil at the cross­roads, although it's more likely another player with the same (common) name was just better at it than he and the two got confused with each other.

band lineupThe town more or less discovers itself in the end (“I was blind but now I see”) in the way Santa's hidden lists become manifest by how every­one fares on Christmas Day. The feeling is not unlike, (Daniel 2:46-48) “Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.” volunteers
needed Ricky the volunteer EMST by day and “the King by night” may now be able to quit his day job.

Production Values

” (2013) was directed by Wayne Kramer. It was written by Adam Minarovich. Its star cast included Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Vincent D'Onofrio, Norman Reedus, Chi McBride, Elijah Wood, DJ Qualls, Lukas Haas, and Ashlee Simpson. The cast was well fit for their roles; such a quirky town they portrayed with­out missing a beat.

MPAA rated it R for violence, sexual material, graphic nudity, pervasive language, and some drug use. The cinema­tog­raphy was excellent employing angle shots, iris focus, and variable frames. It was filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. It has a run­time of 1 hour 52 minutes. There's an inset with out­takes next to the end credits and an extra scene when they're done.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This is one twisted film, but it's darkly entertaining with surprise connections among the three main sub­plots. See it for something different.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.