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'Paul, Apostle of Christ' is an intelligent, stirring biblical drama

'Paul, Apostle of Christ' is an intelligent, stirring biblical drama
Joanne Whalley, from left, Jim Caviezel and John Lynch in the movie "Paul, Apostle of Christ." (CTMG)

Too restrained, perhaps, to have made more of an impression in theaters, Andrew Hyatt’s “Paul, Apostle of Christ” is easily the class act of the year’s Christian-themed dramas so far. Now available for streaming on Amazon Video and iTunes (and due to be released June 19 on DVD and Blu-ray), it’s a somber, moving portrait of one of the early church’s most significant figures, who led the way at a time when Christians were being burned alive in the streets of Rome, or condemned to death in the arena.

Of course, Paul himself (an excellent James Faulkner) once inflicted those persecutions himself before experiencing his famous Damascene moment, though it’s a measure of the film’s intelligence and subtlety that his conversion is just one small part of the story. There is no triumph or easy uplift here, only an urgent emphasis on Christ’s message of sacrificial love and a principled rebuke to anyone who would cheapen the gospel with politics — a conclusion that has lost none of its sting or relevance 2,000 years later.

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