By Amanda Murthy
From being the most infamous persecutor of Christians, to Jesus Christ’s most highly regarded apostle.
The latest biblical narrative to be translated into film, entitled Paul, Apostle of Christ is truly a story of conversion and forgiveness.
Andrew Hyatt, writer and director for the film, tells about the life of Paul (James Faulkner- a veteran character actor who’s probably most recognised now as Samwell Tarly’s father in Game of Thrones) who from his dark and haunting underground jail cell, narrates his Faith’s journey, during his final days.
Produced by the Catholic group ODB Films, in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment. Nero, a Roman Emperor, is determined to wipe out all Christians in the land. The titular leader is taken captive as a result, and eventually beheaded.
The movie begins with Paul’s friend and physician, Luke (Jim Caviezel), who on a number of occasions, illegally passes through prison gates to visit his friend whom he shares a brotherly friendship.
Risking his life at all costs, Luke is determined to put Paul’s letters down on paper, as a way of carrying forward the message of Christ to future generations. He resolves to write another book, which tell the beginnings of “The Way”, marking the birth of what we know as the Church.
Paul, who had formerly been known as Saul of Tarsus, revealed in a conversation with Luke, how he was converted while traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus. His intention, he explained, was to arrest and persecute Christians. He then told of how Jesus had appeared to him, and he was struck blind for three days.
The scenes are bloody, confronting and raw, in its truest authenticity, an eye opener for those who want to experience the truth.
It is enlightening for the viewer to see that through all his struggles, Paul rejoiced, not in his own will and courage, but in the power of Christ in him.
In several scenes, there are moments shown of Faulkner’s character alone in his cell, and he is seen reflecting heavily on the sins he committed from his haunting past, wondering if he has enough strength to endure his last days on earth.
These moments are humbling, with the character of Paul repeatedly describing himself as a “servant of the Lord” and determined to never give up, adds conviction to the portrayal of his feeling and experience during that time.
Dedicated to the world’s persecuted Christians, the film also highlights the importance of mercy and grace.
These values become obvious in the scenes where Mamertine Prison’s prefect, Mauritius (Olivier Martinez), resorts to accept medical help from the Christian doctor upon Paul’s recommendation, as a desperate measure to save his daughter’s life. Mauritius who is strongly against the idea of Christianity, eventually experiences his own awakening with the unfolding of dramatic events.
Though the plot of the film is mainly sombre, look out for Caviezel’s character to lighten the mood with his faint humour, while still observing reverence to the scene.
Naturally there are many passages from scripture of Paul’s words recited during the movie. One of the impactful verses were uttered towards the final scene, just before Paul is martyred.
Quoting 2 Timothy 4:6-8. “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
Paul Apostle of Christ is a truthful and insightful reflection of love and forgiveness.
It is a story of sacrifice and redemption. No doubt a movie that will tug on heart strings, especially during the Easter season.
The Record has four double passes to give away of Paul, Apostle of Christ.
Simply tell us your favourite scriptural verse of St Paul for your chance to win.
Please send all entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 noon Friday 6 April 2018.
Winners announced Friday 6 April.