The Apostle (PG)

Written, directed, and personally financed by Robert Duvall, The Apostle was the culmination of a 14-year effort on the part of its creator, who also stars as the dynamic, God-fearing Texas preacher Euliss “Sonny” Dewey.

Vibrantly authentic with its use of real gospel preachers and extras carefully selected from parishes of the deep South, the film treats its complicated characters with the kind of compassion and moral complexity mainstream Hollywood wouldn’t dare muster. This is especially true in the case of Sonny, who responds to his wife’s infidelity with a crime of passion that sends him on a new and uncharted quest for redemption.

Under the assumed identity of “The Apostle E.F.,” he settles in a tiny Louisiana town to revive an old church, where he undergoes a transformation of spirit and purpose that enlivens his community. But will the law catch up to him? Does he deserve to be punished? Fueled by Duvall’s powerhouse performance, The Apostle refuses to praise or condemn its fascinating central character, leaving the proper degree of forgiveness up to the viewer.

Further graced with superb performances by Farrah Fawcett, Miranda Richardson, and Billy Bob Thornton, the film is clearly Duvall’s labor of love.

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Adrian Drayton

Adrian Drayton is the Director of Reel Dialogue. A film critic and commentator on culture for 20 years, he believes in the power of cinema and the power of God to start conversations about faith and culture. He is also a massive Star Wars nerd.

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