The List is adapted from a novel of the same name written by Robert Whitlow. After returning home from his father’s funeral, Renny Jacobsen (Chuck Carrington) discovers he is the inheritor of his family’s seat in a secret society founded during the civil war. However, Renny suspects the society’s activities are more troubling than they lead on and decides to examine them more closely. When his inquiries are uncovered by the group’s leader (Malcolm McDowell) Renny becomes targeted by a mysterious force that has the power to destroy him and the people he holds close.
The film struggles to find its direction. The characters are all flat and most of the performances are not strong. Chuck Carrington’s southern accent actually gives James Van Der Beek’s Varsity Blues accent a run for its money. There are not too many positives in this effort. Malcolm McDowell salvages his scenes and he is the only likeable character in the film. The shot selection is very basic and not overwhelming. Gary Wheeler likes his characters and shoots them very intimately. Most, if not all, the shots are close ups or two-shots. Viewer’s can tell he is passionate about his characters. Which from a directorial standpoint is crucial in making a film. However, the overall feeling is that the film was meant for television. Unfortunately, the film was given a limited release and struggled to find a following on DVD.
The negatives seem to outweigh the positives in this effort. There are some glimpses of solid filmmaking with good shot selection and editing. The film also asks some interesting questions about faith and the power of prayer. However, the script and performances are what resonate with viewers the most and they leave something to be desired.
The List is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. There are some scenes that appear to be blown out and dull. The picture is free of grain and the darks are deep and full. Unfortunately, the colors are not very lush and do not pop from the frame. Overall, the image is just mediocre.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound is actually quite good. The score is loud and clear throughout the entire film and compliments the dramatic moments quite well. All of the dialogue is very clear and viewers can hear everything. Good marks for clean and quality sound to compliment the film.
Feature Commentary: There is a commentary track with the writer director Gary Wheeler and actress Hilarie Burton. Viewers can tell right away that there is a strong friendship between these two. Fun dialogue and it appears that both of them are very proud of the project and happy to discuss it.
The Power of Prayer (3:06): A typical behind the scenes featurette. It shows cast and crew interviews and discussions about the film.
Deleted scenes (12:48): There are thirteen deleted scenes all varying in length from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. All of the scenes are there to move along character development with the exception of the alternate ending. Viewers can tell immediately why these scenes were cut. They slow down the pace of the film exponentially and kudos to the director for their removal.
The List shows glimpses of promise. However, the final product leaves viewers curious about the director’s intentions and ultimately the viewers find themselves losing interest. Had the director focused more on prayer and faith the viewer may have found themselves more invested.