“Paul, Apostle of Christ” is one of the worst movies I have ever seen in a theater. I’m a Christian, I love movies, and I adore Jim Caviezel. It’s a sin to tell a lie, so I must tell you that this film is so bad I have to wonder if someone decided that Christian movie fans are so desperate that we will support badly-made films. Movies offer many features: soundtrack, script, costumes, setting, star-power. If you are in a not-great movie, often you can focus on one aspect if another aspect is lacking. Nothing in “Paul, Apostle of Christ” works.
The script is barely there. Paul languishes in a Roman dungeon. Romans torture Christians. Christians wonder how they should respond. Paul and Luke chat about the old days. And that’s about it. At one point, a lovable Christian is sent on a mission, and given all the attention being paid to him, you *know* he’s not coming back. The foreshadowing is painfully obvious.
Paul’s captor, Olivier Martinez, has a French accent so thick you could spread it on brioche. Every time he opens his mouth you have to struggle to understand what he is saying, and to stifle a giggle. No one else in this film has a French accent.
The film was shot in Malta, among ancient ruins that look like ancient ruins. The marble is overrun with ivy and foliage growing out of cracks. People in Ancient Rome did not live in “ancient” Rome, they lived in a Rome that was modern at the time. The ruined look of the place takes the viewer out of the picture.
Rembrandt, Bach, and Cecil B. DeMille gave us rousing and inspirational art that treated Biblical themes. We need to embrace that full-blooded tradition and jettison false piety, which makes for bad art.