Movie Review: The List

Movie Review: The List

John FarrellBy John Farrell5 Minutes

Power. Honor. Prestige. Wealth.

These are synonymous with the members of the Covenant List of South Carolina.

But there’s more … greed, secrecy, corruption, and murder.

The Covenant List of South Carolina (also known as The List) was created in November 1863 in Georgetown, S.C., four months after the Battle of Gettysburg. In order to prevent losing everything, a group of eleven families, consisting of farmers and plantation owners from South Carolina’s low country, created a pact that would smuggle and funnel gold out of the Confederacy to safe havens throughout the world and which now flows through Swiss banks. By doing this, the members on the List preserved their families’ immeasurable wealth and power for generations to come.

Each families’ membership in the covenant is passed down from generation to generation through a male heir. If a member dies without a son, his family is removed from the pact. This is the conundrum at the heart of Robert Whitlow’s The List.

Josiah “Renny” Jacobson (Chuck Carrington), a young lawyer from Charlotte, N.C., never had a good, loving relationship with his dad. So, when his father passes away, Renny, although surprised at his sudden death, can’t help not feeling much love lost. But he finds solace in that his father was wealthy and had left him a sizable fortune worth more than $22 million.

Renny soon learns, however, that his father changed his will shortly before his death and that he was left out. Instead, Renny received only a gold coin from 1863 as his inheritance. He is told that his true wealth comes from the Covenant List of South Carolina. Back at his dad’s house, Renny finds the gold coin and a recording that leads him to the List, of which his late father was the keeper, and an invitation to a special dinner in his honor.

Renny isn’t the only person invited as a guest of honor. Jo Taylor Johnston (Hilarie Burton), whose recently deceased father was also a member of The List, is also an invitee. There’s a problem though. The current members assumed that Jo, who is her father’s only child, was a male and not a young attractive woman who catches Renny’s eye.

Led by their suspicious and conniving president, Desmond Larochette (Malcolm McDowell), the current members of the List want to maintain the group’s male-only status. They vote down Jo’s membership into the exclusive society, thus cutting her and her family out of the pact. As one may expect, this doesn’t sit well with Renny.

A prejudice toward females’ entrance into their “boy’s club” is not the only evil lurking behind the shrouded curtains of the List. Some members of the List are an unscrupulous and deceitful lot bent on protecting their precious millions and adding to their already overflowing pockets even if it means seriously hurting others and murder.

Renny’s landlord, Daisy (Mary Beth Peil,) tells him a story about a guy years ago who upon hearing there was a black mamba in the bushes went in after it. Daisy asked the guy later that night why he did that. He replied, “When you know evil exists, you must fight it.”

Renny and Jo know there’s something evil at the root of the List and that they must confront it, but they aren’t aware of just how dark and sinister things are until they start to uncover the truth. What they’re up against is like nothing they’ve seen before.

There is, however, one way to ensure evil never triumphs. According to Daisy, the strongest weapon a person can have when facing evil is the power of prayer: “God’s children and his enemies make the same mistake; they underestimate the power of prayer. Let’s keep praying.”

Robert Whitlow’s The List is a thrilling roller-coaster ride of a movie packed with suspense, drama, and a beautiful message about the awesome power of prayer to defeat the forces of evil.