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Knox — the life and legacy of Scotland’s controversial reformer (DVD)

By Murdo MacLeod
November 2015 | Review by Gary Brady

Book Review

Knox is a documentary produced by Murdo MacLeod, marking the 500th anniversary of the birth of the influential Scots Reformer, John Knox.The documentary is presented in a manner that we have grown used to. Philip Todd, the film’s youthful presenter (in dark jeans, loose narrow tie, etc.), moves from location to location (Edinburgh, Perth, St Andrews, Stirling, Berwick, Geneva), telling Knox’s story.

This is interspersed with a number of talking heads (ministers and academics, such as Rev. Maurice Roberts, Professor John McIntosh and Knox biographer, Jane Dawson). Cartoon images, with Stuart Falconer reading the actual words of Knox, plus a sprinkling of other appropriate images, ancient and modern, are also included. Throughout, music (Charlie Wilkins) and other audio are used to enhance the presentation.

It is all done to a high standard, although the cartoons are not really up to the standard one might desire (this might be the point where a senior youth group starts to snigger, if it gets to see it). The documentary has, understandably, a Scottish feel, which may limit its use in some places. However, it is far more balanced than hagiographic.

The chief aim of the documentary is to give a clear and accurate history, but from time to time participants make statements no doubt intended to encourage true faith in Christ and challenge believers today. Such instruction comes over in the quotations from Knox too.

In the final section, the conviction is clearly expressed that Scotland needs a new reformation. The final words are those of Knox himself, calling upon us to know God, to be faithful and to seek blessing for Scotland. It is encouraging to know that such materials are being made.

Gary Brady


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