I’ve been kind of avoiding In the Blink of an Eye for some time because I had somehow gotten the impression that it was just about two couples who spend their vacation on a boat and have emotional conversations with one another. I certainly had no idea that it was essentially Groundhog’s Day by way of a Christian Rapture movie, with David A.R. White (the biggest name in Christian showbiz) starring. If I had, I certainly would have jumped at the opportunity to see the movie much sooner than I did.
At the start of the film, Detective Dave Ramsey (White) and his partner Larry are in a gunfight with a bad guy who kidnapped Lindsey, a huge pop star whose song “Sugar Baby” has made herself and her producer boyfriend into millionaires. After successfully shooting the bad guy in the face (yay!), Dave and Larry argue about whether their survival was the product of God’s intervention. This sets up the crucial information that Larry and his wife Suzette are Christians, while Dave and his wife Lori are not. Uh-oh, that just won’t do… something will have to be done about that. Now that the love of his life is safe and sound, Lindsey’s boyfriend offers the heroic police officers any reward they want; they demand a cruise on a private yacht in Mexico. Ostensibly, they’re going on this trip to investigate the boyfriend’s shady business dealings, but the wives view this as a vacation.
And at first, that’s exactly what this is. The couples relax on the deck of the ship, feeling the cool ocean breeze and smooching in the shadow of the setting sun. How romantic. They return to the cabin where everybody has a discussion about how only criminals listen to rap music, a conversation which naturally dovetails into an argument about the state of affairs in the Middle East. Like always. But behind the well-adjusted political argumentation, David and his wife are experiencing a serious lack of marital bliss. When asked how he’s feeling, David responds: “Same David, different Sea of Life.” Huh. Well, I’m sure if that phrase weren’t just gibberish, it would reveal the struggle he and his wife are going through because of his cursed habit of working. Well, if David’s going to spend all his time doing dumb ol’ police work, then Lori’s just gonna get her jollies from another man: Jesus. That’s right, Suzette talks to Lori about her need to get right with J.C., to which Lori responds with wide-eyed surprise. Tell me more about this–what’s his name again–Jesus? Anyhow, despite feeling that she has nothing to atone for (“All are sinful!” Suzette asserts), Lori is convinced to take the plunge by hearing about the peace that she will receive under Jesus’ wing. I admit I’m not well versed in theology, but I always thought the point of the Christian religion was about abandoning self-interest, not catering to it. Maybe I’m totally wrong about that.
Nevertheless, the next day Larry and Suzette are off on a speedboat “to see some cool seals and take some pics.” They’re certainly not going to see any lame, loser seals. David and Lori go jet-skiing, stopping for lunch and a nap on the beach. When David wakes up, his wife has mysteriously disappeared! Back at the boat, frantic and wanting to call out the Mexican Navy, David learns that Larry and Suzette also disappeared… in a flash of light following a minor earthquake. Hmm, what could that possibly mean? He stresses out about the disappearances the rest of the evening until he falls asleep. When he wakes again the next morning, the previous day is playing itself out again! He once again goes to the beach with his wife, although this time he gets into an argument with her because he’s suspicious she ran away the previous-same day. They’re not on speaking terms when she suddenly disappears while jet-skiing away from him. Back on the boat, the crew believes David is responsible for the disappearances; consequently, they knock him unconscious and drown him. As you do.
David suddenly awakes, living the same day a third time now. He starts to talk about the tragic loop he’s found himself in with both his wife and his friend Larry. They refer to the past few days as being “dreams”, but I think that’s because they don’t believe that he’s really lived the same day multiple times; it seems clear that David is actually re-living the same day, i.e. it is reality. This opens the floodgates for additional theological questions. I’m concerned about the fact that Larry, Lori, and Suzette apparently join Jesus in Heaven repeatedly, then are cast back to Earth; that David’s re-living the same day means there is no Free Will; that David’s re-living the same day until he accepts Jesus also negates Free Will; that David apparently isn’t cast into Hell for the remainder of the day when he’s drowned, but instead comes back to life immediately; and finally, that in one of the aborted days, Lindsey finds Jesus, but that day is eventually erased… so she goes to Hell? These inconsistencies seem to draw the whole enterprise into question, or at least make it seem less than “perfect”.
During one of the repeat days, discussing his problem with Larry, David is asked, “Have you ever heard of the Rapture?” David responds in the negative. I repeat: he has never even heard of the Rapture. Larry explains that we are living in the End Days, a process which began in 1948 when the country of Israel was founded. The founding of Israel apparently fulfilled Biblical prophecy… never mind that this is forced, false fulfillment; after all, Jesus has never had a problem with that before. In any case, the sheer number of prophecies which are coming true now (earthquakes, for instance, are totally prophecies coming true) prove that the Rapture could happen any day. Maybe that’s what this is? David is convinced, and decides that he believes in God. Because it was his choice, alright? It’s not really coercion if he was forced into believing in God by re-living the same day repeatedly–after all, David made God psychologically torture him by not making the right choice sooner! See, Free Will! Yes! Everything’s great now: David believes in God, he’s being super nice and thoughtful with his wife, telling everybody he knows how much they mean to him. Man, it feels great. Now it’s time for the Rapture again, and–
What the fuck, God? Yet again, David is left alone on the beach. “Am I not good enough?” he screams to the sky. I suppose it’s not too surprising, given that David didn’t even know what a Rapture is to begin with, that he would still be confused on this final point. As we all know, and as our man Dave will soon find out, it’s not enough to be a good person or believe in God to get into Heaven during the Rapture. No, you have to have a personal relationship with Jesus by using your mouth to confess how much you love dat man. David confesses that he loves Jesus (totally his own choice) and disappears the next afternoon, so we’re supposed to understand that he was accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven…
…but he was not Baptized, so too bad — he’s actually going to Hell.
…but he was not Chosen to enter Heaven, so too bad — he’s actually going to Hell.
…but he did not perform all 7 sacraments, so too bad — he’s actually going to Hell (or Purgatory).
…but it’s not about Jesus at all, so too bad — he’s actually being reincarnated as a moth.
Or any number of potential alternative fates could befall David at this point. Perhaps the trickster demon god that’s been messing with him has finally gotten tired of playing games and is prepared to rend him limb from limb now, in some kind of ethereal other-world. We’ll never know. The movie doesn’t show us. All we know is that he disappears. He could be anywhere. Good going, In the Blink of an Eye, you forgot the most important part of making a movie: the ending. You can’t just stop without telling us what happens to the good guy! What a rip-off!