Review: "Washington's Armor" Pilot a Winner
Updated: Oct 3, 2019
This faith-based period piece about our founding father delivers with a feel of 18th century authenticity.
We caught the premiere of Washington's Armor at the recent Content 19 Christian film festival in Texas and came away duly impressed. The script and acting were both good, though nearly in danger of being eclipsed by the locations, sets, props and wardrobe, all of which were, in a word, sumptuous - and we don't say that lightly.
There's no information on the budget for this first episode, but it certainly did not come cheap. More on that in a bit, but first a word about the show itself. Set in the early 1750s on the eve of the French and Indian War, young George Washington is still a loyal British subject, living and serving as a major in the colonial Virginia militia. The program, which is designed to be a six-part miniseries, focuses on the Lord's role in the future president's life.
In this episode, Washington, who is played by Christian actor Willie Mellina, sets off into the wilds of the Ohio Valley to deliver a message from the British Crown to French forces trying to foment an Indian rebellion and thus expel the British. Accompanied by guide Christopher Gist, who is played by Tim Ross, Washington survives the harrowing trek - having risked life, limb and scalp - and is promoted to the rank of colonel upon his return.
The cast is generally strong, particularly Ross, whose character is the older, wiser and skeptical sidekick to the young and somewhat naive Washington. Christian actresses Micah Lynn Hanson and Ashley Bratcher, who was the lead in this year's hit pro-life film Unplanned, play supporting roles as Washington's future wife and as Gist's spouse, respectively.
Now then, as to the budget, you can feel the money right away in the backdrops, sets, costumes, et cetera. Shot in three locations - New York, Texas, Virginia - and over three seasons - winter, spring, summer - this program would be right at home on virtually any prominent cable channel because of the quality of the production. Settings range from verdant field to snowy forest, Indian village to settler cottage, Lord Fairfax's estate to the governor's mansion in colonial Williamsburg. And what attention to detail: from the buttons on Washinton's colonels coat to the hammers on the flintlock muskets, the filmmakers on director Tammy Lane's team seem not to have missed a thing, with the exception of handshaking, which Washington does repeatedly here but did not do in life, if memory serves...he bowed instead.
A committed Believer, Lane is the creator of this project and also proprietor of Capernaum Studios, where the Texas portion of the production was shot. She is being helped by producer Aaron Burns, who holds the same title on the current Kendrick Brothers' hit Overcomer and is accomplished in the faith-based movie business. The story is based on actual journals from Washington himself and screenwriter Andrew Librizzi does a good job weaving the faith elements into the narrative. Cinematographer James Burgess also turns in a first-rate performance behind the camera, delivering rich and captivating images, particulary in the winter scenes.
Bottom line, we rate Washington's Armor an 8 out of 10 and recommend you see it, provided you can find it. That could, however, prove tricky because, aside from a free public showing planned for October 1st in Lubbock, TX, it's unclear when or where the show will air. There's also no word yet on whether the remaining five episodes will even go into production, though we have a sense that this first episode may well help drum up the funding needed to move the project forward.
At any rate, we will keep you posted on developments. In the meantime, you can check out the episode one trailer via this link.