Every year, movies and series are released, and cast members show off their talents. Writers and directors showcase their creativity. Films and series are separated into roughly three groups: the truly talented, the potentially great, and the others. At Box Office Revolution, we believe it is our prerogative to annually recognize those entertainment creators and players who have the ability to bring revolution to Christian entertainment.
After Paul had completed many full years of missionary work across the continents of Asia and Europe and after carrying the Gospel of Jesus Christ to thousands of people, both Jews and Gentiles, he appealed to stand trial in Rome before Caesar, but this decision only caused him to suffer further for the cause of Christ at the hands of cruel Romans. With the church in Rome on the brink of total annihilation, Priscilla and Aquila house many wanted Christians in their home, and Luke is sent to tend to Paul in prison. As many Christians begin to question the words of Christ, Luke begs Paul for a fresh word to strengthen the church in her dark times, yet Paul is plagued by his thorn in the flesh–namely the lives of all he killed while he was a religious zealot. With darkness seeming to close in on Christ’s people, the story of Paul’s life carries the same message that saved all followers of the Way: where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.
Production Quality (2.5 points)
Gone are the days when ‘Bible plays’ like The Book of Esther are socially acceptable as Christian films. We are in a new era of Christian productions, and Paul, Apostle of Christ is another hallmark of this era. Similar to recent Biblical depictions, such as Risen, this new look at Paul’s life is gritty and authentic and has no fear of being painfully realistic. This is evident in the excellent and historically authentic sets, locations, and props. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are also what a professional production should be. The soundtrack is very engaging and thought-provoking, and the editing is quite creative and effective in presenting the story. The only drawback to this production is a collection of very dark scenes that may be realistic but do not make for great viewing. Nevertheless, this is a top-notch production that we should see over and over again in Christian films.
Plot and Storyline Quality (2.5 points)
While most standard Biblical plot fare is very flat, face-value, and vanilla, Paul, Apostle of Christ rejects this mold and upends the Biblical genre once and for all. By inserting extremely creative and well-crafted psychological elements into the core of this storyline, Andrew Hyatt and his team have created a point of no return for films based on Biblical events. Much like their work in Full of Grace, which showed the potential they have always had, their portrayal of Paul’s thorn in the flesh and the trauma he went through in his life is revolutionary in this genre. This is exactly what needs to be done to show the humanness of Biblical characters through the exquisite use of effective flashbacks and through processes that demonstrate real motive. Elsewhere, dialogue is rich and meaningful, and the other subplots are intertwined very well as each character is very well-developed. Care is given to demonstrate great historical accuracy, and while there are some slightly slow scenes and areas that could have been fleshed out with further dialogue and flashbacks, this storyline is a breath of fresh air in a world of very poor Biblical screenwriting. To top things off, the ending sequence completes the film excellently and is well worth the wait. In short, this film is a job well done in nearly every area.
Acting Quality (2.5 points)
While there were a few missteps with cast members that are not entirely culturally authentic, they are trained to appear culturally authentic, which is leagues better than having a fully BRITISH cast. Elsewhere, there is plenty of culturally authentic casting to make this section great, and there is clearly a presence of professional acting coaching. There are very few errors to point out here, and costuming and makeup are also extremely realistic. In summary, there are many positive elements to point out in this breakout effort.
This film receives a full x-factor point for its effective use of poignant psychological elements as Paul, Apostle of Christ takes its rightful place among the greatest Christian films of our time. Andrew Hyatt and his team are clearly going places, and even though their sophomore effort was somewhat muted by the blockbuster release of I Can Only Imagine, Paul is a signal that a new force to be reckoned has finally arrived in Biblical films. It will be exciting to see what this team puts together next, but for now, we can enjoy this great movie.
Mary the mother of Jesus was one of the most important characters in the Biblical narrative. She was given the privilege of bringing the Messiah into the world and raising Him as a child. But as she grew older, she became a follower of her Son, the Savior of the world. Some believe she had a major impact on the early church and her whole life was a testament to the grace of God.
Production Quality (.5 point)
In attempts to be artistic, there are some unusual production elements in this film. For one, camera work is very shaky in parts. Video quality is strange and there is a lot of poor lighting throughout. Audio quality is fairly inconsistent, but the soundtrack, though it is sometimes too loud, is at least intriguing and creative. Furthermore, there are a lot of long and wasted sequences that are overly artistic. There is also too much recycled footage. In the end, where this could have been an interesting production, it is just not.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
Though there are some interesting psychological elements in Full of Grace, like the production, the plot tends to get lost in artistry. A lot of the story is extremely low-key and almost purposely understated for no particular reason. There are a lot of scenes of characters sitting around talking about off-screen Biblical and historical events, but Full of Grace commits a common Biblical movie sin by focusing more on extra-Biblical and extra-historical content then on the actual content we have available to us in the Bible and in other historical documents. Besides this, the characters cannot be connected with because they seem like ethereal, otherworldly figures rather than regular people. Also, it is very difficult for this film to hold the attention as there is hardly enough content to sustain a feature length film. This movie seems like it was written for one good scene that has a good message, but this occurs near the end, so it is unlikely many viewers will make it this far. Unfortunately, Full of Grace is just another Biblical film disappointment.
Acting Quality (2 points)
The one thing this movie got right was culturally authentic casting without BRITISH people. This is an amazing concept that most never get right. Thus, though there are some overly dramatic performances, the professional and responsible acting and casting is the standout in this film.
There is so much in the Bible that needs to be made into movies. The Bible is a historical document filled with real people who encountered God in one way or another, just like we do every day. It’s time for film makers to dispense with the practice of crafting Biblical characters that we can’t even relate to and start treating Biblical narratives like real events that actually happened. If this happens on a consistent basis, things will finally begin to change.