Saturday, November 27, 2010

"The Apostle" with Robert Duvall, Miranda Richardson, Billy Bob Thornton and Farah Fawcett

A very unusual film, this is the second time I have watched it. It took me twice to get the message. Robert Duvall plays the Apostle, a self proclaimed, and somewhat flawed man, married to the long suffering Farah Fawcett. When she leaves him, his rage boils over and he kills her boyfriend. He then sets out on his journey as The Apostle, set on spreading the word of Jesus and settling wherever his journey may take him

He arrives in a a small town somewhere in Texas, quickly befriending a legendary local pastor who has left the calling. Rallying the local people isn't too hard, as there is nothing else for them in this small back water place but God and faith, both of whom have been absent for a while. They quickly cling to Robert Duvall and through their assistance he manages to set up a local church that serves to revitlize the spirits of the congregants. He is happy with his accomplishments,, while still dreaming of a reconciliation with his wife. But there is a warrant out on him for murder, which does catch up, posing the question as to whether or not the good we do ever really vindicates the evil we have left behind.

With excellent performances by all, I was especially surprised by the apperance of June Carter Cash, and the depth and authenticity of her performance. The movie was filled with beautiful string, and even zydeco music. Billy Bob Thorton is wonderful in his brief appearance as a man who wants to do right, but it does take a moment of truth before he finally makes the right decision.

Another surprise performance was by Walton Goggins, of "The Shield", since which he has has become somewhat typecast as a thug, in a role that really lets you see the depth of his acting abilities. Lets' hope he can get back to roles such as this one, where he really shines as a simple man of faith, lost, and looking for answers wherever he can find them. He represents the truly faithful. And while the law does finally catch up with The Apostle, the changes he has brought to the community remain. Perhaps that is the point. But the question still remains, do we ever escape our own judgements? The ending of the film addresses that, and you will see how if you watch the film. I'm no spoiler...

At a little over 2 hours, this 2003 film is a bit long, and perhaps that is what put me off the first time I watched. But stick with it, if only for the outstanding performances of the entire cast, as well as the lush scenery of Southern Texas and Louisiana. This is a very nuanced and slowly paced film, with a lot to offer, if you take the time to really watch it.

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