The opening paragraph of The Christian Film Review’s review tells us “Paul, Apostle of Christ is the best Biblical movie since The Passion of The Christ. It is extremely gripping and powerful telling the story of Paul, Luke and the early Church.”
“[T]elling the story of Paul, Luke and the early Church” is a gross exaggeration. Sure, during Luke’s conversations with Paul we get a visual glimpse of the stoning of Stephen, Paul’s ‘Damascus Road’ experience and Ananias laying his hands on Paul and restoring his site in Damascus, but that’s about all.
The run time of 108 minutes wouldn’t have allowed for much more than portraying just a selection of Paul’s missionary life, but this is further reduced by a parallel story being told about a group of Christians in hiding from the Romans, with Aquila and Priscilla seemingly being their leaders. This drama, probably intended to express the extreme danger for Christians in Rome at the time, which it does, is pure fiction; Aquila and Priscilla were not in Rome during Paul’s second imprisonment. The closing salutations in Paul’s second letter to Timothy, written from the Mamertine prison, confirms this. Another drama, imbedded in this one, is the story of the Mamertine Prison’s prefect’s daughter who is very ill, and eventually saved from death by Luke; complete fiction.
There are some small gems available in addition to the film, but nowhere near enough to compensate for my disappointment.
There are also other extras on the DVD which inform us of the background and research undertaken to producing this movie. Yet, however well-intentioned, this excellent production, in my view, falls far short of portraying its title subject – Paul, Apostle of Christ – and reflecting the real source material, the Bible.
If, like me, you would love to see a film which accurately portrays Scripture (allowing for necessary dramatisation, of course) then this film is not for you. If you still think it might be, and why not, there are a number of reviews to be found you might want to read. Just Google “paul the apostle of christ reviews”.
Even with the extras, would I watch this again. No. It’s just going to sit forgotten somewhere on a shelf.