[By Linda Moldovan]

Paul: Apostle of Christ (2018) is based on how the New Testament book of Acts came to be. The film focuses on the relationship between Paul and Luke (Jim Caveziel playing Luke), Luke and the Christians in Rome, the missionary couple Aquila and Priscilla, and Paul and the people that he killed before he became a Christian (which I had not really thought much of before seeing this movie).

For someone who grew up watching low budget, Bible-based, TBN movies-of-the-week that were pretty terrible (let’s be honest), it’s been wonderful and exciting to see higher budget, biblically accurate (for the most part) movies with bigger stars attached to them that have wide releases.
The film is compelling, emotional, and was reaffirming to me as a Christian. The movie is not perfect, but considering the bar that seems to have been set for faith-based movies, it was well-made. A film like this, based off of such high-stakes and well-known stories and characters, is very easy to turn into a cheesy sermon or lecture. It’s a testament to the skill of the writer and director, Andrew Hyatt, that he was able to use quite a bit of restraint.

Of course, considering that it’s a semi Hollywood production with a bigger budget and bigger stars than usual, there are certain liberties taken with a few elements, especially with minor characters. However, these liberties help to propel the story forward and give the audience enough to grasp onto (especially for a movie that runs around 2 hours).

The film is able to showcase how terrible the Romans treated Christians during this time without being gratuitous about the horrendous nature of the violence. Christians were being used as human torches (doused in oil and set on fire), they were regularly crucified, and they were being forced to fight for their lives against various beasts such as lions (in front of an enthusiastic audience, no less).

I have to admit, when I saw the trailer, I was a bit confused seeing Jim Caveziel in it, since he is so well known for playing Jesus in the iconic ‘The Passion of the Christ.’ This is not a sequel to ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ although there is a sequel in the works starring Jim Caveziel.

I give this film four out of five stars.