Polycarp was a great Christian who led the church at Smyrna in the second century just as the Roman Empire was becoming more radicalized and hostile towards Christians. When a couple in his church rescues a young slave girl named Anna, Polycarp takes a personal interest in her, as he was also rescued as a slave boy. As times become tumultuous for Christians, Polycarp seeks to lead his flock to always be strong in the Lord and to stand firm in the day of trouble.
Production Quality (2 points)
It is evident that the Henline Productions team cares about historical authenticity, as a great amount of time, effort, and resources were put into the realistic sets and props of Polycarp. This is difficult for an independent film to pull off, yet they did it anyway. Camera work is highly effective and professional. Video and audio quality are also top-notch. However, the soundtrack needs an upgrade, as it rarely can be heard. Also, the editing needs to be worked on, since some scenes drag on too long and there are too many seemingly unnecessary or repetitive sequences. But in the end, this is an excellent place to begin for a freshman production and gives great hope for the future.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)
The plot of Polycarp starts out with an excellent historical idea, however, it wastes too much time getting to the point. The first half struggles to hold the attention and we fear many viewers will give up on it halfway through. However, once the second half of the movie begins, the real meat of the story is finally uncovered and things become interesting. The characters are pretty good throughout, especially at the end, but we would have liked to see more development and deepening. There is plenty of interesting and meaningful dialogue, but not all of it builds the characters as it should. But as everything progresses, the ending sequences are very effective and drive the point home well—we hope the audience will stay until the end, because it is worth it. In the end, though we can’t help but think what could have been, this is a formidable effort and shows potential for the future.
Acting Quality (2 points)
Though this is a largely amateur cast, most of the cast members deliver solid performances with few errors to speak of. Line delivery is on point and emotions are believable. The main thing that drags this score down is very over-the-top acting by one or two cast members that perhaps took their parts too seriously. But overall, like the rest of this film, this is an excellent start to a budding career.
The story of Polycarp the bishop and martyr is a long and complex one, and the Henline team obviously did not have the resources to fully capture it in an epic, but it still may be worth doing in the future. There are so many things the Henline team can do with more resources, so we pray that they are provided with what they need to take that next step into greatness. With slight production upgrades, a more complex plot, and slightly better acting coaching, they are going to go places. We know they have the ability to do so and can’t wait to see what comes next from their studio.
Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points
Full disclosure: We were provided by the creator with a copy of this film in exchange for a fair and honest review