A friend recently suggested I watch the film Paul: Apostle of Christ. I am glad I did. Here is my take, for what it's worth.
- Acting: superb. Not sappy, as with some Christian films.
- Actors: a little on the old side? (I would have loved to see more younger folks among the members of the church at Rome.) Perhaps this is just my subjective reaction.
- Action: Slow to build. The middle of the movie engaged me more than the beginning, the end most of all.
- They made a great effort to be faithful to history and to the New Testament. Bravo!
- Exceptions: Starting the film in 67 AD feels a bit late for Nero's persecution in the wake of the fire of 64. I expect Paul was released from house arrest after Acts 28, then went to the places referred to in the Pastoral Epistles, then was rearrested – 67 AD perhaps… Anyway we know he was executed by 68, since Nero died then.
- Christians were turned into torches, I though, in the imperial gardens (so Tacitus), not in the streets of Rome. But the effect was dazzling all the same.
- The director had Saul “spreading lies” about the Christians. Perhaps he did, though I can't find the proof text.
- The Christians were scapegoated for the fire. But was Paul, as the film has it?
- I was also unsure why Saul of Tarsus, after the Damascus Road incident, was blindfolded – unless the light really did hurt his eyes.
- The decapitation scene made sense. I never imagined a cradle-post for the soon-to-be-severed head. Yet I do know that examination of the decapitated reveals that the Roman soldiers often needed more than one whack to lop the head off, so this detail makes sense.
- Paul’s claim that he never charged for the gospel – sobering words for all of us whose living is made through ministry. Wow.
- His claim never to boast except in his weaknesses – more sobering words. So well put.
- All the scenes surrounding the healing of the commander’s daughter were extremely touching.
- The reunion with executed Christians (presumably in paradise), and then seeing Jesus – great way to end.