Follow The Way
Paul, Apostle Of Christ
Stars: James Faulkner, Jim Caviezel, Olivier Martinez, Yorgas Karamikos, Irenica Antonia-Campbell, Joanne Whalley and John Lynch
Director/Scriptwriter: Andrew Hyatt
Composer: Jan Karazamek
Rating: R for violence
Running Length: 118 Minutes
This film about the last days of Saint Paul in Rome, does not go as the sword/sandal films usually about Imperial Rome. This time, it is about discussion and how to begin, continue and expand teachings that are changing people’s lives. It is a burden that can be joyful or too much to bear. Thus, we see the followers of Christ 30 years after his death and resurrection. For some, it is too much as the Romans are there dealing death at every turn---or it is so joyful some want to spread the word everywhere. No matter what. Tough choices to make.
From this vantage point, is Paul (James Faulkner), now imprisoned in Rome, regularly beaten and threatened and sentenced to death by Emperor Nero, for burning down half of Rome. Many do not think Paul is guilty, but who can go against Nero’s decree? He must have someone to blame for this destruction, even if it is just one man. Paul’s jailer (Olivier Martinez) is a former Roman soldier, now taken down to the level of jailer for some indiscretion. Enter Luke, the Physician (Jim Caviezel) who wants to see if Paul is in good health. Instead, Luke finds a Paul who is almost broken in body, but not in spirit. It is decided that Paul will dictate his travels to Luke, who will take them out to the believers in hiding. Thus, begins the Paul, who is the builder of the new church within the Roman Empire. Around these two men as they talk while Paul is in prison, are the persecutions of the Christians (why the film has an R rating), the helplessness of the new Christians, the Romans trying to decide which of their gods to pray to, and the Roman jailer torn between his ill daughter and asking a Christian for help. What happens along these paths does make an interesting film.
James Faulkner is a Paul who is defiant, courageous and knows his fate. Faulkner plays him as a man with pride and we do discover what this scriptwriter thinks is Paul’s “thorn in the side.” Jim Caviezel is a quiet Luke, and as a physician, believable. Having seen Caviezel in television’s “Person of Interest” for several seasons, this is a nice change of pace for him. Joanna Whalley and John Lynch as Priscilla and Aquilla, are at opposite sides in how they want the church to go, and the marriage that was firm, is starting to wear thin. Yorgas Karamikos plays Paul as Saul, a young man, and he is intense in his beliefs of destroying Christians, until his encounter on the road to Damascus. Olivier Martinez, as the jailer, is a tough soldier, but his eyes are doubtful and he is torn between his many gods and the one God his prime prisoner believes in.
The settings for this film do show us an arid world in which cleanliness seems to be for the wealthy. The cities are twists and turns of stairs and alleys so Christians can easily hide. The Roman Circus is still a form of entertainment and we see the prisons below the arena laid out much like the old epic “Quo Vadis.” The film is atmospheric and don’t expect rich togas, this is plain homespun here. Whatever your beliefs are, “Paul, The Apostle” will give you some insight into beginning a new religion/belief in which you overlook imperfections and center on the good in each person. As the old saying goes, “Love is the answer.”
Copyright 2018 Marie Asner