Thinking Out Loud

March 29, 2018

Paul, Apostle of Christ

Luke (to Paul) – “There are men, women and children who will never meet you. There must be a handwritten account of your life.”

I’ve mentioned the film, Paul, Apostle of Christ several times, but now that we’ve seen the picture, I wanted to share some additional thoughts.

Like many others, I was expecting a movie based on the Book of Acts. While the stoning of Stephen, Damascus Road and Paul and Silas singing in prison were covered in a flashbacks, there were no shipwrecks and no one bitten by snakes. In many respects this is its own film.

But that’s as far as I want to take that because, despite a somewhat original screenplay, I found the film to resonate with the Bible at every turn. Rather than draw on Acts specifically, the film draws on all that Paul wrote and at no point did I find myself saying, ‘Paul would never say that;’ or ‘Paul would never do that.’ There were scenes of, ‘That’s not in the Bible;’ but playing that game was part of the fun, although I use that term loosely, this is a very sobering film to watch.

Of course, such script liberties might confuse people unfamiliar with the original text; people who would never think that a particular scene in the movie isn’t canon. (I wondered if I might myself, a few years from now, be in a discussion and start quoting a particular occurrence before realizing it was part of a fictional movie.) Hopefully, they are driven to read Acts for themselves.

In many respects, the movie could be called Luke, Apostle of Christ. Luke’s drive and determination to document all that is happening around him, and to get copies of that story out despite the danger the early church faced with travel is, well, inspired.

The scenes of early Christians suffering and dying for their faith were powerful. It’s a movie well-suited to watching during Lent. A few times I thought of the identification with Christ’s suffering for us. However, those who feared a certain goriness (because one actor was also in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ) needn’t fear that this is equally extreme if attending the film, though it’s definitely not for children.

The cinematography was excellent. The movie’s arrival in the middle of a 20-day period when three strong faith-based films were releasing is unfortunate, but I recommend making time for this one if it’s still playing in your area over the Easter weekend.

 

Thanks to Graf-Martin Communications for arranging passes for this film.

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