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Blu-ray Review: Paul, Apostle of Christ

July 3, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The latest in a long line of faith-based movies from Affirm Films, Paul, Apostle of Christ depicts the last days of Paul the Apostle (James Faulkner).  The film begins with him imprisoned in Rome in 67 AD, and sentenced to death by Emperor Nero, who accused Christians of burning down the city.

The story focuses on the visits that Luke the Evangelist (Jim Caviezel) paid to Paul in prison, at a time when followers of Christ were being violently persecuted.  Acting as his physician and caretaker, Luke risked his own life to write down the accounts of Paul’s life and document his time spent spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in the early days of the Christian faith, in what would become the Acts of the Apostles.

One of the most interesting aspects of Paul, Apostle of Christ is that the film often strikes a more introspective tone than the usual biblical epic, focusing on the intimate conversations between these early adopters of the faith.  The film does a good job of exploring Paul’s journey from persecutor of Christians to loyal follower of Christ, showing what led to his powerful Road to Damascus moment in flashbacks.  This is mirrored in the story of prison guard Mauritius (Oliver Martinez), who starts to question his own opposition to Christianity in his time spent upholding Paul’s sentence.

The script can be a bit heavy-handed at times, including a couple of oddly self-referential moments that don’t quite work in which Paul and Luke literally quote what would become scripture to each other, but for the most part, Paul, Apostle of Christ is an engaging biblical drama.  Andrew Hyatt does a solid job of directing the film, showing both reverence and respect for the material, as well as a good eye for crafting an authentic period piece.

The film is further elevated by the excellent performances of its leads.  James Faulkner brings a world-weariness to his role that is compelling to watch, and Jim Caviezel delivers another respectful portrayal of one of the bible’s foremost figures, following his career-defining performance in The Passion of the Christ.  This is a well acted film that uses its biblical story to provide a thoughtful and at times moving exploration of religious belief and how Christianity was able to spread, despite the violent persecution faced by its followers in the early days of the religion.

The Blu-ray also includes a pair of deleted scenes, two illustrated bible readings entitled The Living Scriptures, as well as the three featurettes The Path of the Apostle: Adapting Paul, Recreating First Century Rome, and An Extraordinary Friendship: Luke & Paul.

Paul, Apostle of Christ is a Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release.  It’s 108 minutes and rated PG.

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