Seraphim Falls

Seraphim Falls stars Liam Neeson as Carver (formerly a farmer and family man) and Pierce Brosnan as Gideon (formerly a Civil War officer).  Carver is determined to kill Gideon for causing his family's death and the general destruction of his life. The movie covers the last part of Carver's vengeful mission as he bears down on Gideon over a mountains, forests and deserts.

Toward the end of Seraphim Falls their struggle finally reaches a physical and psychological breaking point. Three years of unreconciled anger and guilt weighs heavily on their bodies and minds.  Gideon is tired of fleeing from his past while Carver is tired of his life-consuming bitterness.

They finally catch up with each other on what look like salt flats, where the hot ground sucks the life out of them from below while the sun beats down mercilessly from above.

Before they reach striking distance, a quirky, elixir-peddling woman appears out of nowhere, offering each one of them a quick remedy for their pains. The fact that this woman appeared out of nowhere on a painted carriage seems out of place to us, as it should to any objective observer, but Carver and Gideon have endured so much that nothing surprises them anymore. She offers each one of them (apart from the other's knowledge) a single bullet they can use to shoot and kill their adversary, thus ending the brunt of their problems.   She convinces them to trade whatever they were clinging to for survival for a single bullet... Gideon gives up his horse and Liam gives his canteen of water. They don't bother thinking about what they'll do after they expend their single shots because they are beyond caring.

This scenario closely resembles Christ's temptation in the wilderness, as described in Matthew 4: "After fasting forty days and forty nights, Jesus was hungry.  The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'  But Jesus answered, 'It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' " 

Satan waited until Jesus was most vulnerable to tempt him. It might seem obvious from an outsider's perspective that Jesus shouldn't trade his mission to save all of humanity for bread but, then again, we probably havent' been fasting for forty days either.

Seraphim Falls and Jesus's temptation in the wilderness are comparable to situations that we all have to face on a regular basis.  We get opportunities all to time to chose between short-term indulgences or eternal treasure in Christ.

The more desperate our situation, the more pressure we feel to fill our stomachs or entertain our fears rather than trust and obey God.   In a similar way, Carver and Gideon give up everything for a single bullet, which the-woman-who-represents-Satan convinces them will be their cure-all, or "remedy."


"Every time I pin down

What I think I want
It slips away
The ghost slips away"

--Weezer, "Butterfly" (from the Pinkerton album)


Good quote from the movie (from the mysterious water-hole man): 

"That which is yours will always return to you. That which you take will always be taken from you.

... similar to John the Baptist's statement about Jesus' spiritual authority: 

"A man can receive only what is given him from heaven." (John 3:27)


Similar, recent western: 3:10 to Yuma (stars Christian Bale and Russell Crowe)

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