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Movie Review and Giveaway: The Penitent Thief

Movie Review and Giveaway: The Penitent Thief

Movie Review and Giveaway: The Penitent Thief

13 February 2021

Jay Giannone (centre) plays Dismas, the hard-done-by thief who gives us an alternate perspective on the Easter story. See it in cinemas for Lent from 25 February.

By Jessica Morris

Easter is fast approaching and with it an invitation to experience the holiness of Christ’s death and resurrection in a fresh light. Others is giving away 10 double passes to the movie, The Penitent Thief, thanks to our friends at Heritage Films (see details at end of story).

The Penitent Thief invites us into the life-changing choices of Dismas, one of the thieves who died beside Christ at Golgotha.

The Penitent Thief tells the story of the man who died beside Christ at Golgotha, showing us what repentance looks like in the Kingdom of God.

By plotting the story of the ‘penitent thief’ Dismas (played by Jay Giannone) and his brother Jotham (Kyle Roark), alongside the birth of Christ, viewers are privy to the inner-working of the two thieves crucified with Christ. Their collision with the Divine as they experience their own grief, pain and systemic evil highlight how, when nurtured, unforgiveness breeds death.

Cleverly, the two brothers show us two different courses in life. One that survives out of betrayal, bitterness and fear; and one that pursues life – even when they don’t feel able to forgive just yet. The end of The Penitent Thief is inevitable – but, as we see, the fate of the two brothers is not. And that is what makes Christ’s decision to forgive Dismas in his dying moments so profound.

As Christians, we often resonate with the ‘penitent thief’ and feel the gravity of Christ’s sacrifice. It means our future is secure in Christ, just as Dismas’s was. Yet the true power of this film is felt when we reflect on the penitence and impenitence of our own hearts, and recognise that we – even as people who have accepted Christ’s forgiveness – have the ability to live in pain, bitterness and unforgiveness.

That’s why the invitation of The Penitent Thief this Lenton season is to address the posture of our heart. Are we seeking life, and laying down our pain like Dismas? Or will we choose to hold onto our pain in an attempt to control our destiny like his brother?

The Penitent Thief comes out on 25 February, and will be especially enjoyed by senior viewers. To win one of 10 double passes to The Penitent Thief email by Tuesday 17 February (midnight EST).

The Pentinent Thief is rated M for mature themes and violence. To find where it is playing in cinemas, click here.


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