The Apostle (1997)

Robert Duvall should have gotten the Oscar for this.*

I saw this about 8 or 9 years ago and I've been looking for the DVD ever since I started collecting. There wasn't too much that I forgot about this movie, so watching it a second time wasn't much of a refresher so much as looking at it through new eyes.

The Apostle E. F. is an honest character. He's also "intense" to use his own adjective. He's a Holy Ghost preacher in Texas that has led not only an accomplished spiritual past, but also a checkered one and it catches up to him and culminates in a crime of passion. This sets him on a journey towards redemption that ends up in Louisiana.

What I truly love about this film is that it reveals humanity at it's best and at it's worst in the same character. The Apostle E. F. kind of makes my skin crawl, but then he makes me want to rejoice. In an interview, the producer of the film says that it's probably the only film endorsed by both Howard Stern and Pat Robertson. I actually respect Stern's endorsement more than Robertson's, but that's another story.

I think the reason the film carries such weight is because it is real. This is the way people actually have conversations and talk about God and bicker and pull together and form bonds. It's also a very accurate depiction of real "Holy Ghost" churches in the south. There is no pretention in showing what is real and asking for a response.

Duvall wrote, produced, starred in and directed this film. I think he did them a favour by not forcing his own agenda for or against charismatic Christian churches, but rather giving an extremely realistic and honest depiction of what he studied as an American subculture.


*Jack Nicholson won for his role in As Good as it Gets

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