Some movies do a great job of revealing a part of life that we might not be familiar with. Some do a bang-up job of having a character's action lead the plot. The Apostle does both. Written, directed and produced by Academy Award winning actor Robert Duvall, The Apostle paints a harrowing picture of a man at the end of his rope, trying to redeem himself in the face of his Lord.
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Set in the Southern United States, The Apostle looks closely at the Christian way of life. Those who aren't too crazy for that strong, pure, Christian style of preaching, may be put off or offended by this film, but I say - don't be. Part of the wonder of the cinema is it's ability to show us different worlds from a unique point of view. That's why it's important to keep a clear mind going into a movie like this one - for it will pay off in the long run.
Duvall is great, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as Sonny. He should have won. But he isn't alone - Duvall has assembled a great set of supporting characters, including Billy Bob Thorton (Sling Blade) in a scene that is so moving - showing us what can really happen when people stick together. Duvall also has a romance for himself in this movie, and for me, it didn't quite work. I think it's probably supposed to show us more about the character's awkwardness than anything else, and in that respect, it works.
Overall, this is an impressively moving movie that works and flows very well. I didn't even notice its two and a half hour running time - in fact it could have gone on longer for my tastes. The Apostle is a brilliant movie that's worth checking out.
(c) March 18, 1998, Steven H. Lee
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