Reviewed by Natalie Salvo
The Beatles sang “All you need is love”. The Reverend Bill Crews lives and breathes this with his humanitarian work through the Exodus Foundation. The film, “A War of Compassion” is a documentary about Crews and his hard-working team in their selfless efforts to spread kindness. The documentary recently premiered in Sydney and saw a ragtag audience of sponsors, disadvantaged persons and the general public coming together to celebrate this great cause.
This film is the directorial debut for actor and writer, Warwick Moss. Six years ago the man whom many will remember from the TV shows “Police Rescue’ and “The Flying Doctors” fell on hard times. Moss hit up his old friend, adman John Singleton for help. The latter would assist but also pointed Moss in the direction of Crews and the Exodus Foundation. A documentary was born.
The film is two hours long. It is separated into four parts with black and red title cards and brass sound breaking up the proceedings. The finished product is gritty and a little rough around the edges. The charismatic and straight-shooting Crews is interviewed and shown at work in his free restaurant, Loaves and Fishes. Singleton is also interviewed and Moss contributes some of his own thoughts to the piece.
There are so many different threads to this story, so it’s not always the most smooth or cohesive affair. But what it lacks in this regard it more than makes up for in its overflowing amount of heart. So many disadvantaged and marginalised individuals are given a voice and treated with the utmost empathy and respect here. They are all part of Crews’ community, one that enables access to: free food, healthcare, literacy programs, and counselling. The programs are delivered in a compassionate way and religion is left at the door.
In some respects this film shares a few things in common with “In Bob We Trust”, the Father Bob Maguire documentary. The Catholic priest’s own foundation is devoted to helping similar sections of society in Victoria. For “A War of Compassion,” the audience can laugh as Crews throws witty barbs at the government, bureaucracy and other authority figures. They will also cry at the senselessness of some of these stories. The history of an orphaned boy who acquired HIV is particularly gut-wrenching.
“A War of Compassion” is ultimately a hopeful film. The idea “From little things, big things grow” has never seemed more apt. “A War of Compassion” shows the tangible differences that Crews and his army of helpers are making through their work with the needy. It’s a cause that continues to be worthy of support.
For more information about A War of Compassion head here: https://www.awocdoco.com/
For more information about the Rev. Bill Crews and the Exodus Foundation head here: