In another era, “Priceless” could have made for a nasty grindhouse-era melodrama involving the human trafficking of vulnerable young women who are forced into prostitution by unsavory male slavers.
But not in the hands of Joel and Luke Smallbone, the clean-cut Aussie-born siblings behind For King & Country, a Grammy-winning Christian pop group that has escaped my notice until now. In a brief intro to a special Thursday-night showing of this supposedly inspirational yet incredibly enervating parable, Joel—the film’s leading man, who devised the story with brother Luke—actually employed the the notion of chivalry to explain their intentions. That knights-to-the-rescue notion is further expanded upon by Joel in the press notes: “Part of the DNA of For King & Country is this idea of respect and honor in relationships and women being priceless.” Meaning, in this case, not for sale.
As James Stevens, a once devoted spouse and father, he has lost his way after his wife suddenly died. He turns to drinking and brawling, and ends up losing both his job and custody of his grade-school daughter. “This is my journey,” James declares literally and figuratively in a voiceover just before he and the rest of the cast start tripping over the poorly constructed script.
James jumps at the chance to make some easy cash by driving a box truck cross-country, its contents unknown (his only caveat: no drugs). But he eventually discovers that he is delivering two Mexican sisters, Antonia (Bianca Santos) and Maria, to a dingy inn dubbed Motel 12 in an unnamed Southwest community, and decides he must dedicate himself to saving his human cargo.
It is a great story line and def one of the top movies I have watched.