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The Baltimore Sun

'The Gospel'

Times Staff Writer

Rob Hardy's "The Gospel" is another solid entry in the burgeoning African American faith-based genre that favors inclusiveness over preachiness and presents multidimensional characters. Featuring a number of noted gospel singers, "The Gospel" is rousing, affirmative entertainment.

Upon the death of his mother in 1992, David Taylor (Boris Kodjoe) turns his back on his workaholic Atlanta preacher father, Charles (Clifton Powell). Handsome and sexy, David becomes a rock star, and his "Let Me Undress You" is riding the top of the charts when he learns his father is terminally ill.

David postpones a tour and heads home — into a hornet's nest. The church is in financial straits, and the assistant pastor (Donnie McClurkin) clashes with the senior Taylor's handpicked successor, the egotistical and ambitious Charles Frank (Idris Elba). Eager to save his father's church, David organizes a benefit gospel concert, but he is genuinely conflicted over what role he has to play in his father's church and its future. In the meantime he's drawn to the self-possessed choir singer Rain (Tamyra Gray).

Of course, "The Gospel" offers positive solutions but never suggests it's easy for an individual to sort out his priorities in working toward salvation. "The Gospel" earns its emotional impact, and Kodjoe has a star's presence.

"The Gospel," Rated PG for thematic elements, including suggestive material and mild language.

Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes. In general release.

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