Gareth Evans has a lot going in his most recent film, Apostle. I don’t even know how to reply anymore when someone asks, did you like the film? These days it seems I can’t give a straight answer. This is the way I feel about Apostle. This the way I feel about many films that have so many good moments but are undermined by other bad moments.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many great moments and even good ideas explored in Apostle, but I feel this film lacks some things.
You think the film is going one way, and then it goes another way. Usually, this is good for a movie, but it wasn’t for Apostle. To me, the story just seems scattered. It’s trying to tell many narratives at once and as a result, it fails to find a cohesive point that ties everything together.
Firstly, I’m a fond believer that a basic premise beats a complex one any day.
Obviously, when you find a film that’s complex, that’s fantastic. But only when that complexity makes sense. Take, for example, Shutter Island and Inception. One may say the latter is far more complex but, nonetheless, both have multiple inner workings that complicate the plot that work to intrigue and is ultimately understandable.
Apostle adds many elements to its story that doesn’t make any sense to me. Thus, I think it could have fared better without too much going on.
I like the way the film starts out. The protagonist makes his way into a cult in order to rescue his sister–this very idea I found interesting, and the mystery holds ups pretty well. As the protagonist learns the cult’s way of life, so do we. We ask ourselves what’s with all the blood, and who’s this goddess? What’s going on here?
However, as it all unfolds and we come to find out what the cult is really about, it all goes downhill.
The goddess was in no way, shape, or form scary or threatening. Hey, maybe she wasn’t supposed to be. Still, I find her silly. The idea that the village maintains her livelihood by feeding her blood baffles me. And we are supposed to believe this supposedly makes a good harvest? It’s not that I’m close-minded, I just want a story centered on a more realistic approach.
Nonetheless, there’s a lot to like in this film but sadly it’s not the story. The film greatly captures the time period (early 20th century). The characters are good. The actors are good. There are a couple of thrilling moments. But as a whole, I did not like it.
One moment I like was when Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) makes his way in the tunnel to uncover what’s been going on under there, and Prophet Malcolm (Michael Sheen) is out to capture him. This was suspenseful.
I like when Prophet Malcolm comes to a realization that there is an intruder in the village, and he lines up several suspects asking them to recite, correct me if I’m wrong, a biblical text. Ah, yes. I liked this part very much.
But I wouldn’t tell someone to not watch it. You’ve got to watch it to form your own opinion.
Thanks for reading folks. I would like to hear your thoughts on this one, regardless if you agree or disagree.
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