The story takes place during the Apostle Paul's final days. After his season of house arrest, described in Acts 28, he has been put into the Mamertine Prison in Rome. There his traveling companion and author of the third Gospel, Luke finds him and asks him questions about his journeys in order to write the Book of Acts. It was inspired by 2 Timothy 4:11, which is believed to have been written from the Mamertine Prison: "Luke alone is with me."
Priscilla and Aquila (played by Joanne Whalley and John Lynch) who are guarding Christians from persecution by the Romans.
The film is a rich banquet of excellence. The writing, acting and cinematography are all top shelf, pulled together by Affirm Films, the Sony company that produced films like Risen, The Grace Card, Heaven is for Real, and War Room.
Often, when films are produced, actors come from far and wide, and day players are only on set for literally one day. Faulkner was overjoyed that they flew all of the key actors to set in Malta for a table reading of the script before film production began. They also utilized acting coach John Kirby, who helped me direct several plays. Those investments paid off in the tight ensemble work.
Paul: Apostle of Christ is saturated with Scripture, something that is nicely highlighted by the recurring phrase, "Write that down," which Paul often says to Luke. That phrase was added through improvisation during the filming process.
Unfortunately I went in thinking that the film would include lots of flashbacks from The Acts (which I perform as a one-man play), so I kept waiting for the film to get to those. It does include a few flashbacks, but they're artfully chosen snapshots of Saul's persecution of followers of Christ, leading up to his Damascus Road experience.
When they opened up the mics I was the first one up, asking why they didn't include more miracles. The producers said that they chose to cover a tight timeline, and also, because they had a modest budget, they didn't want them to come across as cheesy. In one case, in order to ratchet up the drama, there was a choice not to show a miraculous healing, and it was quite an effective sequence.
I'm looking forward to seeing it a second time so I can better appreciate it for what it is, rather than waiting for it to become what it is not. Also, we saw an unfinished version before color correction, the final score, and some additional dialogue, which we read as subtitles. So I'm looking forward to the final cut.
There is also quite a lot of Roman idol worship depicted, and in one scene a man pours blood over himself. It's a powerful reminder that God has planted eternity in the hearts of all, and that even pagan Roman pantheism had a concept of our need to be covered by the blood of a sacrifice. Still, it could be a disturbing image for some.
It's rated PG-13 for some violent content and disturbing images. For more details (which reveal some spoilers) visit PluggedIn's review.
To watch the trailer and short documentaries about the film's faithfulness to Scripture, click the arrows below, or if you've received this as an email, visit www.RichDrama.com/PaulApostleOfChrist.
There are still openings for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.