A new movie is out in theater this week – Paul Apostle of Christ will bring you in the Roman Prison at the end of the life of Paul – a life that started in persecuting believers to finish in being the most outspoken missionary for Christ. I had the opportunity to visualize the movie in advance in order to be able to write about it. The movie has also been transformed into a book which I will present to you afterwards.
About the movie
Affirm Films brings to vivid life on screen the epic story of Paul, the man who went from persecutor of the church to its most powerful and important proponent. Paul suffers alone in a Roman prison, awaiting his execution under Emperor Nero. Mauritius, the ambitious prison prefect, can hardly see what threat this broken man poses. Once he was Saul of Tarsus, the high-ranking and brutal killer of Christians. Now his faith rattles Rome. At great risk, Luke the Physician visits the aged Paul to comfort and tend to him—and to question, to transcribe and to smuggle out Paul’s letters to the growing community of believers. Amid Nero’s inhuman persecution, these men and women will spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and change the world. Andrew Hyatt directs, Jim Caviezel stars and James Faulkner plays the title role of Paul.
Before I signed up for this opportunity, we had taken the time to watch the trailer and we were interested in watching it. Though I admire the fact that more and more Christian based movies are created, I have been disappointed with the fact that the movie at times are dragging in the storyline. As I watched this morning, I had questions – Did Luke really visited Paul during his final days? Did Paul really was accused of starting the fires? Did all the events in the movie really happened this way? I had a feeling that some of these scenes were not truly what happened in reality. I had questions… and some of the answers were found at the end of the book (more on that later).
Though I ended up with questions after having watched the movie, I was able to appreciate the various scenes. I could see that great thought have been made to make the décor has realistic as possible. The scenes I particularly enjoyed were the ones filmed in the prison cell of Paul. I really like that area and how the movie depicted the darkness surrounding Paul during his imprisonment. At times I had to turn my eyes for some scenes in the movie are hard to swallow. But at the same time it is historically correct with what Nero has done to believers during that period in the Roman Empire. The costumes were amazing as well depicting the era where the movie is set.
At times in the movie, the conversations between Paul and Luke brought parts of the letters of Paul – bringing back some of the scriptures found in the Bible. For example, Paul remind Luke that Love is most important and during that conversation they use the words from 1 Corinthians 13.
After watching the movie, I have the feeling that it is not only about Paul himself but also the persecution of the believers during the time when Nero’s reign over Rome because the movie allows you to imagine the life of believers during that era which was not an easy one.
Another note, some scenes are very difficult to watch. My ten years old daughter had wanted to see it but by the time we could do it it was too later for her. We are glad she did not watch the movie because even my fourteen years old thought that the scenes of believers used as torches were hard to swallow.
The movie will play at certain theaters. To discover where it will play, please visit the faith films website – Paul Apostle of Christ. In Ottawa, the movie will be presented at Silvercity Gloucester and Landmark Cinemas 24 Kanata.
A novel by Angela Hunt
Based on the screenplay by Andrew Hyatt
Published at Bethany House, a Barker Publishing imprint.
About the book
His Story Will Change the World, But Only If It's Shared in Time.
Paul, Apostle of Christ is the story of two men. Luke, as a friend and physician, risks his life every time he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul, who is held captive in Nero's bleakest prison cell. Before Paul's execution, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of "the Way" and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. But Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians.
Paul has survived so much--floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure--yet as he waits for his appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past. He wonders if he has been forgotten . . . and if he has the strength to finish well.
Two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to bequeath the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
As I am writing this, I can honestly say that I enjoy the book more than the movie. I find there are more details in the book – though I can recall certain scenes of the movie as I read it.
The book itself goes through the same events depicted in the movie but with more details I find. However, keep in mind that the book was written based on the screenplay. The book also contains photos from the movie – either characters, scenes as well as the writer/director with the actors. My only disappointment would be that I wish there would have been a section in the book explaining some of the Roman words used in it like lararium or paterfamilias for example. I could google it mind it but having a description of what it means would be nice.
So I mentioned that I had questions after I watched the movie and some answers were given at the end of the book. For example was Paul really accused that he was behind the fire of Rome? Well historically, Nero did blame the Christians for the fire but there is no historical evidence that Paul was accused of the arson. However you will also find stretched information in the book as well – in one section Paul recall being a young man while studying in Jerusalem and recall a time when a young boy was speaking to the religious leaders in the Temple when his parents came to find him. He says he didn’t know then that it was Yeshua but now he realize that it was him. At the end of the book, the author herself says that she guesses Paul’s age and put his timeline alongside the one of Christ. However, there is no evidence that their paths crossed at the point in time.
As I mentioned above I personally much prefer the book than the movie even though some scenes in the movie were speaking to me on an artistic level. However, I am a bit disappointed on how the novel has stretched some of the truth but adding on what the Bible tells us. It makes me uncomfortable when authors do this because it feels as though it is adding to the events. There is no proof that Paul was present when young Jesus were speaking to teachers in the Temple. So why adding this image in the mind of believers who will be reading the book I wonder…
Some people won’t mind have added details (even if not historical) in a book. Personally when I read a book based on history, I would prefer to have as much truth as possible. Just know that this particular book is based on a screenplay and might offer some historical theories that are no proven or verified.
Paul Apostle of Christ – the book – is available at your favorite bookstore, even on amazon.ca and amazon.com.
Disclaimer: Film has been provided courtesy of Sony Entertainment Releasing Canada (Affirm Films) and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. I was not monetarily compensated for this post . Please note that the post was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.