Burning Men: a Review of “Paul, Apostle of Christ”
Regular TCT readers know of my passion for good movies, the corollary to which is my distaste for bad ones. Most recent Biblical films (those released since TCT began ten years ago this coming June) have usually been less than praiseworthy, and some readers have complained that it’s un-Christian of me to pan any work whose Christian filmmakers, after all, mean well. But that’s not the way this reviewing thing works.
In any case, it’s very good to be able, finally, to have a film I can recommend wholeheartedly, although it’s impossible for me not to be a little querulous.
Andrew Hyatt’s Paul, Apostle of Christ is a winner overall. It’s a faithful, faith-based retelling of the Book of Acts (with some bits from Corinthians, Romans, and Timothy) that manages to overcome its narrow, theater-like presentation and its dependence on narration and exposition. Mr. Hyatt knows more about moviemaking than I do, yet I’ll suggest that – for next time – he remember that in directing and screenwriting (he ably does both on Paul) rule #1 is: show don’t tell.
In a recent interview, Mr. Hyatt, said: “We just stay with Scripture as the only source material.” That’s fine, as far as it goes, and many viewers will be pleased to recognize God’s word when they hear it. It’s just that Paul is overly wordy. In fact, much of the action of the film takes place “off stage.” We hear about the persecution of the Early Church, but we don’t see it – not much of it anyhow.