Ragamuffin - Based On The Life Of Rich Mullins
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
The irony of this well-crafted biopic of the late Rich Mullins is that the self-styled Christian singer/songwriter probably wouldn't have wanted a film made about him in the first place - such was his discomfort with fame and recognition. Nonetheless, director and fan David Leo Schultz - helped by Mullin's brother Dave - has cemented the CCM pioneer's standing as one of the true greats as well as allowing distant admirers the chance to get to know this most elusive of artists a bit better. Canadian actor Michael Koch takes the main role and plays the part with the required angst and intensity to reflect Mullins' alcohol problems, bouts of depression, record company fallouts and the fractious relationship with his callous father - things the film thankfully refuses to gloss over - whilst a strong supporting cast provide credibility throughout. All the music biopic hallmarks are here from childhood flashbacks to re-enactments of how the artist's biggest song came about (in this case "Awesome God") and such is the film's integrity that it could sit quite comfortably alongside blockbusters such as Ray and Walk The Line in terms of calibre. Whilst Mullins is played as something of a hard-to-like character, his struggle to accept that his Saviour simply loves him and his earnest attempts to build relationships are warming factors although, going by clips of between-song banter by the real Mullins as the credits roll, more could have been made of the man's obvious sense of humour. Arguably, Mullins' songs could have been given better exposure - mostly presented here as snippets of Koch noodling away on a number of wobbly old pianos - and perhaps we could have been spared the fatal car crash scene at the end. On the whole, whether he would have liked it or not, this is an excellent and worthwhile testament to the genius, flaws, struggles and legacy of a much-missed musicianary.
Cross Rhythms Product Code: 158856
Product Format: DVD
Content Type: Film
Cat. Code: SOLRAG
DVD Region: 1 (import disk - multi-region player required in the UK)
Running Time (minutes): 137
Video Encoding: NTSC
Director: David Leo Schultz
Featuring: David Schultz, Michael Koch, Wolfgang Bodison
Release Date: 01 Oct 2015
A David Leo Schultz-directed biopic on the life of the CCM pioneer.
'Ragamuffin' is based on the life of Rich Mullins, a musical prodigy who rose to Christian music fame and fortune only to walk away and live on a Navajo reservation. An artistic genius, raised on a tree farm in Indiana by a callous father, Rich wrestled all of his life with the brokenness and crippling insecurity born of his childhood. A lover of Jesus and a rebel in the church, Rich refused to let his struggles with his own darkness tear him away from a God he was determined to love. As he struggled with success in Nashville and depression in Wichita, Rich desired most of all to live a life of honest and reckless faith amidst a culture of religion and conformity.
Towards the end of his life he encountered a love deeper than he had ever known dying tragically in a car accident at age 41.
He was a prophet and a poet and a beggar, more comfortable with the homeless than the wealthy, more in love with Jesus than religion, more interested in the music than the song. He felt too much, and held too much. He searched desperately his whole life for a way to belong down here, but he never did.
He was just passing through.
"Ragamuffin is a beautiful and moving film that captures one man's struggle to overcome the trappings of success, and to learn how to accept the unconditional love of God. Whether or not you are a fan of Rich Mullins, you will be touched by this movie. It is honest, accurate, and unafraid to show Rich's scars, yet pointing us all to the deeper truth even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts."
James Bryan Smith, author of Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven So why make a movie about Rich? Hear from our director. "Rich Mullins is one of the most interesting people I've ever known. Interesting because he was honest - not perfect. He made you feel like Jesus was part of the band, telling stories around the fire, laughing with you at the bar. He made you feel like you could own your darkness and be honest with your doubts. He knew that inside each of us there is a sinner and a saint at war, and on good days the saint prevails, and on bad days -Jesus loves sinners. He was as winsome as a kid and as wise as a chief. This film captures the life of one of the most important people in the history of modern evangelicalism, a ragamuffin that our children and our grandchildren need to know about."
Shane Claiborne, author and founder of The Simple Way
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada)
Please note that this DVD is Region 1 (USA) coded that requires a NTSC Region 1 compatible DVD player. A Region 1 DVD from the USA will not play on a Region 2 only player from the UK. However, it will play on a Multi-Region player that will play DVDs from any region.
Parental Guidance Suggested: PG-13 for thematic elements and smoking
Director: David Leo Schultz
Writing Credits: David Schultz
Ryan Bodie producer
James Duke - co-producer
John Grow - executive producer
David Holechek - producer (as David M. Holechek)
David Schultz - producer