City Press movie review
Movie: Paul, Apostle of Christ
Director: Andrew Hyatt
Starring: Jim Caviezel, James Faulkner
Paul, Apostle of Christ is a biblical drama that tells the story of Jesus’ disciple Luke (Jim Caviezel), who risks his life every time he ventures into the city of Rome to visit his friend and another former disciple, Paul (James Faulkner). Paul is held captive in the prison of Roman Emperor Nero who wants to execute all Christians.
The film delves into themes of faith, war, love, fear, mercy and grace, and how they speak to loving and walking with Christ. But despite these themes – which should make for a great faith-based movie – none of it moved me. Instead, the movie falls flat and long before you think there could possibly be a climax approaching, the film ends.
While the actors are believable, and look the part of Bible characters, it’s the interpretation that doesn’t translate well enough to screen to make you feel touched by the friendship between Paul and Luke or their love for Christ and spreading the gospel.
During Luke’s various visits to Paul, who continues to languish in his dingy prison cell, Luke writes a book that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the start of what would come to be known as the church.
Aside from Jesus, no one played a more central role in the growth of the early church than Paul.
While Nero is determined to clear Rome of Christians and does not shy away from executing them in the most brutal ways possible, Paul’s fight is internal, despite Nero’s brutality and his own suffering, bound in chains and slowly losing his sight. It’s while he awaits his death that he is constantly haunted by the shadows of his past. And it’s those scenes that portray a far more interesting story. That’s a film I’d watch!
As the film follows the final days of Paul’s life, we meet the prison prefect who oversees Paul, Mauritius (played by Olivier Martinez), who struggles to understand how this broken old man can pose such a threat. “Christ asked for us to care for the world and not rule it,” Paul said. It’s through this belief that Paul and Luke still show kindness and love to those people, such as Mauritius, who are intent on exterminating Christians and ultimately murdering Paul.
You can expect some violence and disturbing imagery, though nothing that will have you on the edge of your seat. But you won’t have any tear-jerking moments in this somewhat disappointing film.