"Get out of the way, Jupiter and Mars!"
Mike Powers | Woolwich, ME USA | 02/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Apostle," starring Robert Duvall, Farrah Fawcett, Miranda Richardson, and John Beasley, is an outstanding film... beautifully written and acted, breathtaking in its simplicity and yet imbued with complex and deeply etched characters, a stunning and realistic portrayal of life inside a southern Pentecostal Christian community, and an eloquent chronicle of one man's search for redemption. The movie's premise is simple and effective. Euliss "Sonny" Dewey (played by Robert Duvall) is a Pentecostal preacher who has everything: a loving wife Jessie (Farrah Fawcett) and two adoring children; a doting mother (June Carter-Cash); and a thriving ministry. He is respected and loved by his church community. But Sonny is also a womanizer, and a man who suspects his wife being involved in an adulterous relationship of her own. Jessie is indeed having an affair with Horace, the youth minister in their church. When Sonny discovers the truth about his wife, his life unravels. He is ousted as pastor of his church. One day, Sonny momentarily loses control, and in a drunken rage, smashes Horace's skull with a baseball bat. Sonny flees from justice. Styling himself an itinerant preacher, he travels through rural southeastern Texas and into the bayou country of Louisiana. While he is traveling, he hears the voice of his conscience peck away at his vanity and worldly ways. The majority of this beautiful film takes place in a small town in Louisiana's bayou country. Sonny, now self-baptized as "The Apostle E.F.," sets about resurrecting a small Pentecostal church which had fallen into disuse after the retirement of its pastor. With an infectious smile, eternally effervescent personality, and obvious love for the Lord, the "Apostle E.F." soon sets this bayou community on its ear. The Apostle, however, is constantly aware of his past, as his conscience reminds him of the enormity of his crime. How he deals with the issue of balancing God's love with God's justice is perhaps the central theme of this marvelous film. It took Robert Duvall fourteen years to see this project through to fruition, and his commitment shows throughout the film. His performance as "The Apostle E.F." has tremendous depth and credibility. In this veteran actor's hands, the character of Sonny Dewey illuminates the screen. Other performances of note are those of John Beasley as the compassionate yet strong-willed Reverend Blackwell; and in an excellent cameo appearance, June Carter-Cash as Sonny's mother. Only the performance of Farrah Fawcett seems to suffer in this film. Her portrayal of Jessie Dewey seemed to lack power; the character she played seemed too unemotional and detached in every scene in which she appeared. "The Apostle" is a well crafted film which explores many issues confronting humanity: good versus evil; justice versus mercy; and virtue versus vice. This movie provides sensitive answers to pressing questions, and does so without ever becoming moralistic or "preachy." With a top-shelf screenplay and first-rate performances by an excellent cast, The Apostle is wonderful entertainment, as well as a movie with an important message."
The most honost film I've seen in terms of dealing with.....
Joel Munyon | Joliet, Illinois - the poohole of America. | 02/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...Christianity. Many Christians I know despise this film. I think it's mainly because The Apostle shows the bitter truth behind the men and women who serve God. This film is not apologetic or remotely reverent; it is brutally honest and actually, when considered closely, quite refreshing. Rovert Duvall, in a role that was destined for him, plays the part of a eccentric preacher who is running from his problems. His problems, and there are many, force him to leave his mega-church and flee from police. His actions - which I won't spoil - are shocking but somewhat justifiable. When out of town, the Apostle begins a multi-racial church in the deep south, cutting cross dividing lines while vigorously regaining his passion for the Lord. In it is in these moments, when he confronts his own lusts and fears, that the character of the Apostle shines through in honest, heart-bursting segments. He is a broken man, but still a man of God, just as many of the men and women of the Bible are. Bruised, battered, yet still willing. That's what I loved about this film. It is a true depiction of people who follow Jesus. We have misgivings, tempers, pride and lusts, yet, when it's all said and done, we can still move on. There is one segment, when a racist bigot - played handsomely by Billy Bob Thorton -threatens to tear down the mult-racial church. The scene ends with Thorton's exclusionary character on his knees in deep remorse and weeping for forgiveness. It's a beautiful thing to behold. This film is ruggedly honest and will make the pious and self-righteous crowd cringe with prudent dissaproval. But hey, those of you who are in touch with reality will probably love this film. I'm a preacher's kid and I know an honest attempt when I see one. This is it. Enjoy!"
A Film That Finally Gets Christianity Right!
firstname.lastname@example.org | Las Cruces, New Mexico USA | 02/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We've all heard and seen films that portray Christians (especially from the South) as villans, fools, bigots, and zealots. At last, from legendary actory Robert Duvall, comes a film that is so riveting and poignant and full of love that it is, quite simply, astonishing. Duvall's Apostle E.F. is no saintly, sinless caricature. He is a man who has heard God from an early age, but is subject to the same vices that plague the rest of us. His struggle with and utter dependence on the Lord will move you. His dedication to rebuilding an old church in Bayou country into a multi-racial love fest is sheer poetry. His fire in preaching the love and forgiveness of Christ, when we know he needs it every bit as much as we do, leaves an indelible mark on us. Even prison does not lift Apostle's need to preach. I've rarely seen a film that is so personal, so touching, and so real. A must-see for Christians and non-Christians. Forget Good Will Hunting and LA Confidential. The Apostle is a real movie, and uplifting experience. Enjoy!!"
Grace At Work
LKayH | Lakewood, CO United States | 11/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A lot of people misunderstand this film because the title character is a mess, and they see it as a movie about Christian hypocrisy. But I think there's a deeper point to it. It is about a very flawed preacher, a man who cheats on his wife, who is violent, who blows it in a big way and then tries to reform himself. But as soon as temptation comes, he's right back to his old ways again. Then very subtly, a pattern begins to emerge. Through various circumstances, the man begins to recognize the consequences of his actions, and he begins to have a HEART change that accomplishes in him that reformation he was looking for. He sees a woman he was trying to seduce in the context of her family -- a family that looks very much like his own -- and his response tells us that his womanizing days are over. The first time he encounters an adversary, he beats the man into submission. The second time, he shows compassion, and the results are miraculous. Gradually, the man is led to a place of true repentance, a point of willingness to accept responsibility for his actions, and then, finally, he finds himself in a place where God can REALLY use his gift of ministry. It's subtle, just as God's work in real life is subtle, but those who know how God works will appreciate seeing this portrayal of the way he moves in the lives of men.The movie was written, funded and produced by Robert Duvall, who as far as I know is not a Christian. He places his story in a Southern-style Pentecostal/Holiness church, so there are a few controversial issues, such as the ongoing ministry of apostles. But it's not trying to sell that particular theology so much as portray it in the context of the story. The movie stars people like June Carter Cash, and many of the extras were real preachers and worshippers in churches across the South. My favorite scene is one where the man is pacing his bedroom in the middle of the night yelling at God because things aren't going the way he'd like. There's a powerful intimacy in that moment, the guy isn't just folding his hands and saying an "If it be thy will" prayer that he doesn't really feel. He's laying his heart out before God and confessing his anger. That is REAL prayer, the kind that changes lives, because when we stop hiding our hearts and open up to him, that's when he can really begin to work in us. As a Christian and a movie fan, I rate this movie five out of five. Yes, there are some flaws, but the quality of the writing, the acting, and production are awesome for an independent film, and if the message is a little too subtle for some, well, God's message never does pound people over the head."