Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Movie You Might Have Missed #57: The Apostle

The hardest soul to save was his own.

The Apostle

Robert Duvall gives a tour de force performance as a zealous Pentecostal preacher hiding from his past. Now in a small Louisiana town, Sonny goes by the name of "Apostle E.F." and opens a new church with the help of a retired reverend.
Duvall gives us the story of a main character, Sonny, who is fully, tragically, joyfully human and who is always returning to God. Some of the scenes seem long but afterwards the viewer realizes that such immersion was needed to understand Sonny's world and soul.

At the end of this movie all I could think of was King David in the Old Testament. Beloved of God, loves God, inspirational, beloved by his people, and yet terribly a terribly flawed man who sent a trusting subordinate off to sure death so he could take his wife.

It is fascinating that Robert Duvall evokes these echoes in The Apostle, especially since watching the extras Duvall kept speaking of believers as "those people." He didn't mean it in a derogatory way but just that for him they are "other," a people who he is not a part of. He pulls it off because he's absolutely honest as a story teller and as an actor.


  1. One of my favorites. So good on every level. Duvall is just pitch-perfect.

    He wrote the script in the 80's and couldn't get anybody interested. So eventually he funded it himself. So basically he wrote, directed, acted, and produced this movie. Pretty phenomenal. At least he was nominated for best actor. So much to love about this movie from the starting scene and the baptism to the last scene. Seldom do you find a film with a theme of redemption that doesn't seem contrived.

    I have heard him interviewed by Hugh Hewitt a couple of times regarding this movie and others.

    Always have loved Duvall and his quirky movies. Recently re-watched Crazy Heart - another great movie.

    1. I've never seen Crazy Heart ... will look for it.

      Roger Ebert speculated that perhaps Duvall's long search for funding allowed him to continually refine the script. That makes sense to me, much as Christopher Nolan's 10-year gestation of Inception gave us such a wonderful film

    2. Oh wait, I did see Crazy Heart. Not my favorite. Just not nearly as good as Tender Mercies on the same subject (also Duvall). :-)

  2. Oops, I meant Tender Mercies.

    1. So we ARE on the same page! :-D