Paul, Apostle of Christ (hereafter simply referred to as “Paul”) is directed by Andrew Hyatt. The film stars Jim Caviezel, James Faulkner, Oliver Martinez, and John Lynch.
In the decades following the crucifixion of Christ, a group of Christians loyal to Christ’s teaching lives in Rome in secret, wanting to spread Christ’s message of love. Their leader, Paul, once one of Christ’s apostles following a life in which he himself once hunted down Christians for the Romans, is now imprisoned and sentenced to death by Nero, Emperor of Rome. Paul’s follower Luke visits him in the prison to record his story, as the other Christians in Rome debate their next move, between staying in Rome and helping the less fortunate, or moving on to other places where they can do good to help people and spread their message.
Paul is a story based on one of the Holy Bible’s most iconic persons, and features beautiful set and costume designs that feel accurate to the period. Unfortunately, despite its intentions, the film ultimately falls flat with a lack of urgency, a muddled narrative, and a story that fails to capture the attention of its audience.
I will give credit to the actors in this film who do the best they can with the material they’re given. The true standout is Jim Caviezel (best remembered for his role in another Biblical film, The Passion of the Christ) as Paul’s follower Luke, determined to make his words reach a larger audience in the centuries to follow. There are a handful of touching, dramatic moments interspaced throughout, as well.
Sadly, Paul commits the sin no Biblical story should commit: It’s actually boring through much of its duration. This is a slow-paced story that drags in too many places, with many more integral plot elements glossed over, or given nothing more than a passing mention. The film hints at Paul’s past when he was once the enemy of Christians, persecuting them prior to his conversion. A film about those early days of Paul’s life prior to and leading up to his conversion would have made for a far more interesting film than this one, which ultimately feels mundane and stale despite its solid production design.
Paul is a film which had potential, but ultimately it feels bland and generic despite its strong source material. Rent it if you’re curious when it comes out on home formats, but don’t rush to the theater for this one.
Rating: One-and-a-half stars out of four.
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