Movie Review: Paul, Apostle of Christ

 

Production Companies: Affirm Films and ODB Films

Distributor: Sony Pictures

Release Date: March 23, 2018

Running Time: 106 minutes

Reviewer: Chidimma Nnagbo

pau apostle movie poster

Paul, Apostle of Christ is woven around Paul (James Faulkner), Luke (Jim Caviezel) who played the role of Jesus in “Passion of Christ”, Mauritius Gallas (Olivier Martinez) Prefect of Mamertine Prison and the Christians under the care of Priscilla (Joanne Whalley) and Aquila (John Lynch). It is a 2018 American biblical drama film written and directed by Andrew Hyatt and Produced by David Zelon and T.J. Berden.

Rome suffers a devastating fire outbreak and Emperor Nero pins the blame on Christians and unleashes judgment on them by torture, setting them on fire on the streets of Rome and slaughtering them on sight. As a result, all Christians go into hiding under the care of Aquila and Priscilla. Luke enters the city just when they need counsel on what next to do. They ask Luke to seek Paul’s wisdom during his visit to him in prison.

The movie is faith provoking and sad but at the same time lacks the ability to hold a viewer spellbound. Of all the accounts of Paul in the Bible, the makers of this movie chose to showcase the end of Paul’s life when he is old, weak and almost ineffective, which by the way the bible has little record of. He even whines about his bones racked with pains and his eyesight bad. The Paul in the bible was bold, influential and the most eloquent of all the apostles so portraying him the way he is portrayed seem almost dissatisfying. Luke is seen persuading Paul to pass wisdom and letters to the Christians in Rome and beyond. In reality, Paul was not someone that needed persuasion to preach the gospel. His character, even in his last days was poorly sketched.

The cinematography, lighting, and costumes are perfect but the set is flawed. An idea that Paul is in the darkest and most hideous part of Rome’s cells is given but Paul is seen in a relatively well lit and somewhat spacious cell. The movie is not as explicit as expected of a movie staged centuries ago. The only act of violence shown is a hung man being set on fire. Asides that, every other act is told, not seen. Compared to ‘Passion of Christ’, this film is modest. This limits the communication of the supposed hardship Christians in Rome are going through to a viewer. The flashbacks of Paul’s active days which should have been the highlights of the rather dull movie is so poorly staged.

Does the movie achieve its purpose? If it’s purpose is to remind Christians what Christianity is really all about in a time where everybody is ‘woke’ and fighting for one right or the other, then yes. The message of love is strongly advocated. Cassius (Alessandro Sperduti) is seen dividing the Christian refugee camp and calling for justice against Rome. After what they subjected Christians to and what they are still subjecting them to, one might think waging war against Rome and fighting for their lives would be absolutely right; but Priscilla and Aquila chose a different way. They tell him he and any other person that carries arms against the Romans would be banned because they are Christians and live a lifestyle of peace. When Luke reports to Paul the situation of things at the camp, he says ‘Let peace be with you because we live in the world but we do not wage war as the world does. Peace begins with you. Love is the only way’. Cassius breaks into the prison to release him, he still doesn’t go. Instead, he asks him of whose authority he acts because it certainly isn’t of God’s.

Paul’s discussion with Mauritius Gallas after Luke healed his daughter shows effortless preaching of the gospel and conversion to Christianity should be. After Paul preaches to him, he asks what if he doesn’t believe after everything that has happened. Paul tells him it takes just a moment and it isn’t him but Christ himself that looks down upon a person and shatters his defenses. At that moment one would realize how much God knows and loves him.  He says he will pray that moment comes for him.

The scene of the afterlife shown where Paul meets all those he persecuted in an open field with dry grasses with warmth on their faces is a picture of heaven as I hope it will look. Then, a man I suppose is Jesus is seen from afar walking towards him. Perhaps this particular scene was not given much thought. Maybe it would have been better to end the movie with Paul’s execution.

Here is the official trailer:

 

True Manifest

Age sixteen was so sweet I craved to live in it forever
slowly but consistently He made passes at me unraveling the beauty in my essence
aimed at keeping me from growing cold

Cold…?
I had just left home a few minutes ago yet to take my first dive and view the world in its variety of expressions

I love you
I love you
I love you
He spoke with such tone of obsession

I tried
I tried to cuff my ears for years but the love song didn’t seem to have an end so I gave in

Yes
I said yes with a vague mind hoping to experiment but got trapped in love with the one who first loved

In just one moment like a lover’s first kiss I allowed his breath in my mouth
drew in life and suddenly started living
Lip in-lip out I had a taste of his strengths now mine to keep

©Imani Dokubo

2019

Heads

Heads of garments, heads of fruits, heads of people… Heads. Heads.

You can gaze upon my face all you want. But to have a look into my head, no you won’t.

Cause you can’t.

And You’ll never know the strings of vessels that work hand in hand with strands of ligaments to pull this through. You’ll never know the gaps that had to be filled with cartilage or red blood peels all to keep this up; this straight looking, up-faced, high standing figure called a head. You don’t know.

You don’t know what it takes to clean me up. Floss after floss of cotton balls dangling up down and across my pores in zig zag motions, all to clean me, wet, dull and clingy, sticking right up to me telling me how I’m a story without a clean stop when I’m bleeding. I wonder if you really know where I’m heading at cause you don’t know me. You don’t know what it feels like to be me.

That’s how you can sincerely look forward to appreciating me with nothing. You’re expecting me to continue to spring up all of a sudden, give a genuine laugh all the time all of a sudden, have many reasons to always sit up and think for you when you would have me sit up and think for you because you’re certain doing nothing is your part while all I must do is sit up and think for you. But you have not been sincere enough to genuinely follow up my system. Now you can’t back me up.

So you accuse me and abuse me, all rightly. You treat me lightly yet you expect me to perform brightly. You conjure up your own magic and yet you can’t spell me. When Paul said to pray for our leaders, he was not speaking Anti. In the spirit he was true and he was matter-of-factly. You know we…dress up our lives with Makeup and acting, yet actually we pretend to know what our leaders are really facing. Forgetting they also have faces and dresses to act in. Believe me…

You don’t know the heart of the matter until you’ve listened to its beat. You don’t know the stomach of the warrior until you’ve fed it. You don’t know the bone of contention until you’ve chewed on it. You don’t know the joke of the oesophagus until you’ve told it. You don’t know the favourite joint until you can beer it stretch. You don’t know your own guts until you’ve spilled it. You don’t know the skin of trouble until you’ve felt it. You don’t know the slippery nature of butter fingers until you’ve heat it. You don’t know how elastic your ribs are until you’ve cracked it.

And you don’t know the breath of his shoulders until you’ve cried on it, taking in deep breaths till you can measure it. So why are you waiting? We never measured up to this, this beautiful privilege of the Good News but, the good news is He is waiting to take our hands and comfort us and equip us beyond measure in the power of His Spirit.

So He sealed it. If you know it, you can live it and get it into your head.

©Doebi

2019

Decadence

Ask George, the bush burns and it kills the soil.
What thoughts do you have in there that are grazing the green lands of your mind?
The government owes us,
Nothing!
Our parents owe us
Nothing!
We owe ourselves!
“What about my background”?
Ask Jack Ma, he can testify.
Seek for enlightenment,
Get over that entitlement mentality,
It’s killing your personality.

@adethatwrites
©2019

Clothes of an Idea

The corpse of an idea
A zombie in my mind
I aim far a head
My time slips by as I bid time
Calculating the different ways to save time
Constantly telling myself how I should be
chaste
While I think off the skirts that I could’ve
chased
Its like I let my potential just waste
While growing, adding, learning at no haste

Write, hand, write for you were made to.
My life feels like a movie part too.
I look to Jesus,
So when I’m down, I know I’m up next.

The Niel
© 2019

TALE OF THE HEAVENS

Far away
Away as the waters that once finds its dwelling at shore

How far is far
Are you talking about endless oceans or a stary sky?

I have lost my rhythm at the sound of the endless ocean
Scared to trace the pathway
Which I once trusted as the Broadway

The way to the Broadway can be deceptive
But we are receptive to the leading of the rhythm within
The one that leads to the path of life

The path of life
The crown of eternity
Grizzled with Gold and emerald
Joining the Herald
The cherubs and seraphs in the song of redemption

The very redemption that liberates
The one that exposes me to my strengths
The joy is unending
This song ushers me to rivers of living water

Most times I hear more about angels singing
But poetry is hardly talked about
Does the angel write?
Is poetry their kind?

If they ever wrote I wonder what colour the words displayed
But I think to myself, if Christ is a poet then maybe their is a trace that leaves clues

Maybe they write in blue
Or green, or pink,
No, I think golden, because of the golden scroll
Maybe not
Maybe black or brown or no color
Maybe their ways is a mystery to unravel

I think a greater mystery to unravel is the way they study their master through us, the chosen once, the once who have given themselves to the Word

It teaches me the true way of a living master
That conquered me in my rebellion
Adonai
That divided the river Nile

The Niles hear and see
They are receptive to the masters voice
Same way they can be with ours
Cause the signet has been placed on us

Imani Dokubo
The Alchemist
© 2019