Saul of Tarsus was a ruthless man bent on destroying the church of Jesus Christ, until he had an unforgettable encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. From there, his life was never the same as he became Paul and effectively switched sides and became zealous for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Though many were still skeptical of him, God was with him all of his life and used him to turn the world upside down. His work as an Apostle of Jesus Christ is still affecting the world today.
Production Quality (1 point)
It’s clear that there was money behind this film—you don’t get the opportunity to make a more than two hour film every day. For the most part, this production is average, with okay camera work and historically authentic sets and locations. However, some of the video quality is blurry and some of the lighting in outside scenes is poor. There is also an unusual use of weird special effects throughout, including an annoying use of negative video quality in an attempt to be dramatic. We also are provided with unnecessary location subtitles as a crutch for bad editing. With a such a large idea, editing is key, as it is in any epic. Yet the editing of this film is totally off and allows the plot to focus on all the wrong things. In short, a lot of wasted money was thrown at this production.
Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)
Paul the Apostle gets caught up in the all-too-common trap of Bible films: using a movie named after a well-known Biblical character to focus on all kinds of useless side issues and peripheral characters. It’s fine to make a movie about a character or group of characters who shadowed a well-known Biblical figure, but don’t pretend like the movie is actually about that figure. Though there is a substantial amount of content in this film about Paul, this movie is not about Paul’s life, but about things that happened around Paul during random parts of his life. It’s not like Paul has a small story—there is tons of content about him that would make an awesome movie. Yet we are left with half-measures and allusions to what could have been. As extra-Biblical events take up the time of this story, pointless time jumps are taken and tons of off-screen content is alluded to. Dialogue is designed to move the plot along and only crafts characters who seem lofty and inaccessible rather than like real people. Alas, what could have been with this very important and engaging historical account.
Acting Quality (0 points)
Once again, another Bible movie commits the cardinal sin of casting: British people trying to portray Middle Eastern people. Thus, there is a lack of cultural authenticity that is not helped by the partially unrealistic costuming, the creepy makeup jobs, and the obviously fake beards. This is not to mention the overly theatrical, dramatic, and breathy delivery of lines and emotions. Unfortunately, there is not much good to mention here.
So you have over two hours of runtime and virtually only a third of your content actually pertains to the Biblical historical account of the Apostle Paul. Very few film makers have the luxury of having this much time on their hands to craft a movie, yet this team decided to waste it on tons of non-Biblical and quasi-historical content, complete with large time jumps and completely unnecessary characters. Besides this, the characters don’t even feel like realistic or authentic Jewish people, which is not helped by the fact that they are played by British people. It’s no wonder so many people are weary of films that have the “Bible” stamp on them. We eagerly await the day when Biblical movies are honest about what they are depicting and create historically realistic and culturally authentic portrayals of people in the Scriptures.
Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points
This movie takes the stance that Paul was brought to Rome twice; the first time he was placed under house arrest and eventually was released. The second time he was executed. This is likely the truth. The movie probably represents reality very well. It hit theaters for the Easter ‘rush’, right after I Can Only Imagine and just before God’s Not Dead 3. Theater operators are not especially benevolent; Imagine was making money and few screens were given to the Paul movie, and even less screens to God’s Not Dead 3. So few screens, that I had people asking me when God’s Not Dead 3 was coming out AFTER it had already left first-run theaters. Had the release order of these 3 movies been different, box-office for them might have been in quite a different order. God’s Not Dead is a franchise; it had built-in fans. I’m not saying the best film didn’t eventually come out on top, but if God’s Not Dead 3 had come out first, the other two films would have languished for lack of screens. Next year, Christian studios will try to come out before each other at Easter in what will probably be a very un-Christ-like way.
great movie, great acting.unfortunately anything portraying Jesus Christ is put down in this world today.
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