Title: End of the Spear (2005; PG-13)
Director: Jim Hanon
Major Themes: South America, Missions, Missionaries, Martyrs, Indians, God’s Love
Synopsis: The constantly warring Waodani tribe is threatened with a never-before-encountered enemy: God’s unconditional love. Are they willing to accept the love offered, or will they drive themselves to extinction through their constant fighting?
I don’t usually watch higher-rated movies, simply because I believe most of them are rubbish. However, with End of the Spear, I made an exception to the rule. Some friends of ours had both the book and the movie, so Mom borrowed them and proceeded to read the book while the lot fell to me to watch the movie. I didn’t mind; I’ve got plenty of other books to read too, and I do enjoy watching movies once in a while. This one was well worth watching, despite the higher rating. It was horrible, and wonderful, and sad, and exciting, all at the same time—and in the end I’m thankful I was able to experience this story.
Beginning with a tribal conflict, the movie soon follows Mincayani’s growing years and Dayuma’s meeting of the missionaries. In vivid pictures, it portrays the life of the Waodani before Christians came to help—a life of fear, danger, and sadness. Then a daring young missionary, Nate Saint, decides to try to reach this remote tribe. As a pilot, he is able to spend time looking for the Waodani from the air, and soon employs the help of Jim Elliott in trying to reach the people through gifts. Soon he finds a place near the river to land, and along with four other missionaries—including Jim Elliot—they attempt to reach the Waodani on land.
However, attempting to reach one of the most violent stone-age people groups in the world isn’t necessarily the easiest task. The missionaries did their best to show love toward the Indians, but in the end because of a lie they gave their lives for the cause. Is it possible for war-loving people to change and become peaceful, kind, and even compassionate?
End of the Spear is an incredible story of God working in the hearts of people. Although narrated in places by Steve Saint (Nate Saint’s son), it predominantly shows the story through Waodani eyes—from their first contact with the missionaries, through to beyond the men’s deaths at the ends of Waodani spears. While very violent in places, this is a beautiful story of love, forgiveness, and finding freedom and peace in Christ. From what I’ve seen before, this closely follows the original story, and I highly recommend this to all older teens and adults.
WARNING: As mentioned before, this is a very graphic movie. The scene of the missionary’s deaths was especially awful, but there is a lot of other fighting and killing throughout the story. I felt like the producers did an excellent job keeping most questionable content off-screen—even though it’s hinted at and often you know exactly what happened, you don’t actually see it. There is quite a bit of blood (although less than there probably would have been in real life), battle, and nudity (men in loincloths, naked children, women wearing “strings” and a short skirt, etc—very realistic, although in real life they wore less than that). A baby is killed near the beginning of the story (not actually shown, although you know what happened). A man is speared in the shoulder and breaks the spear shaft off, and multiple people are speared at times. A woman is found pregnant after one of the Waodani men spends the night with her (you just see him following her off into the jungle); later he is speared multiple times and dies. Nate Saint kisses his wife just before heading off on his final mission. A woman looks down a boy’s pants to see if he is a boy or not, and a little girl is killed by a boa constrictor. Altogether, this is not a movie for children, although I think many adults would find it quite interesting and challenging.