Paul, Apostle of Christ

Reviewed
Sat. 3/24/18
Paul, Apostle of Christ
3.4166666666667
Acting
3.5
3.5/5
Morality
5
5/5
Music
3
3/5
Story
3
3/5
Visuals
2.5
2.5/5
Kernel Factor
3.5
3.5/5
A slow roll, but worth the pay-off
Reviewed By: Steven Siwek
Viewing Environment:
Theater
Viewing Crew:
Myself
Times Watched:
1
Genre:
Epics/Historical
Payment Method:
MoviePass
Review:

When I first heard about "Paul, Apostle of Christ" I was very interested to learn of the filmmaker's approach to the story, especially since their focus is on Paul's last days (not his conversion). At first this movie was very slow moving. Although it has beautiful themes that should resonate with everyone, it is mostly an edification to the Church. The way it edifies is interesting though - essentially, in spite of intense persecution our earliest Church brothers and sisters stood strong; therefore Christians should be both thankful and encouraged by this powerful history. I praise God for it. However, it's not easy to watch. And it's made more challenging to watch because our hero, "Paul" (played by James Faulkner), is bound in chains throughout the film. It makes this film a heavy watch, but it ends well. 

Acting
There were multiple times where I felt like this would've made for a better play than a movie - each "hero" character is given a good amount of lines and their scenes are more like monologues/speeches than rich dialogue between characters. My biggest problem with the film is that although it has a unique story line it borrows indelible actors from other Biblical epics. Some might argue this is smart business, but it was more distracting for me. For example, Jim Caviezel who famously played "Jesus" in "The Passion of the Christ" plays "Luke" in "Paul, the Apostle of Christ" and it just felt different. Don't get me wrong, Caviezel plays his role beautifully, but when I see him I struggle to see who the filmmaking team wants me to see. Similarly, "Priscilla" played by Joanne Whalley (who does great) played "Claudia" in "A.D. the Bible Continues" TV series. It felt too close. Not to mention, "Mauritius" played by Oliver Martinez has a very memorable personality/character to "Clavius" played by Joseph Fiennes in "Risen" (also distributed by Sony Affirm). The point is, the Acting is good, but it's borrowed so heavily from other Biblical epics that it loses some of its freshness. 
Morality
We see martyrdom through fire and stoning. I wouldn't recommend this to younger audiences, but for ages 10+ this could be a helpful watch. The film is very educational and ultimately redemptive. 
Music
I don't have much to say here. The music felt like it wasn't smoothed throughout the film, but rather it was used in sequences that sometimes weren't perfectly conjoined through musical composition. 
Story
This story is slow, but it has such a powerful ending. Our hero, "Paul", does not have a hero's look, mindset, or any display of strength or wit. Even though that's one of the very reasons I cried while watching the film, I was also needing a moment of joy. They create a very powerful resolve to "Paul's" inner thoughts that I believe was amazing. Scripture is beautifully woven in throughout the film and the personal struggle of the antagonist, "Mauritius", is well developed. 
Visuals
My greatest technical problem with the film were the Visuals. The sets and location are great! But I struggled with the camera work and inconsistent decisions in showing the story. Things like using a steadicam on long dialogue scenes, going on a long lens was always obvious, framing characters in unneccesarily creative ways, but worst of all - slow motion. No! I love slow-mo, but honestly this film made me rethink using slow-mo...like never. They took it too far, and they didn't have to. 
Kernel Factor
I cried a few times while watching "Paul, Apostle of Christ" because I sensed the realness of the moment. When it's powerful, it is really powerful! The film is very educational and I seriously learned a lot from watching it.