Scott Teems is to be congratulated for trying to summon a Christian vision for the films he directs and co-writes. He scripted The Exorcist: Believer, about which I know nothing, but The Quarry (2020) and That Evening Sun (2009) are his would-be artistic pictures. Although the former is a failure, based on a novel, at least it is fundamentally religious; and for a long time a good drama.

It begins with a stumbling, failed preacher (Bruno Bichir) picking up in his van an unconscious man (Shea Whigham) who must elude the law. The preacher senses that the man, now conscious, needs to confess something. He does, but is annoyed by the preacher’s urging and ends up inadvertently killing him. All this is sobering footage, sensitively directed by Teems.

About an hour after this, The Quarry goes awry. Practically everything that is done with a Hispanic fellow called Valentin (Bobby Soto, one of the film’s dandy actors) puzzles us. Teems ought to study a bit the sophisticated, truly Christian novels of Mauriac and Bernanos if he wishes to craft the personal screenplays of a believer. I hope he receives the opportunity to be on the right track.