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The Apostle Movie Review

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I once knew a character who joined a monastery to atone for his sins. The notion of making peace with the people he had hurt didn't occur to him. I thought he was full of hooey and wasn't surprised when he left the monastery to start a “new” life with an entirely different cast of supporting players. Not long into the 134-minute running time of The Apostle, Texas Preacher Euliss Dewey (Robert Duvall) commits a vicious and inexcusable act. He vanishes from the scene of the crime and passes himself off as Apostle E.F. in Bayou Boutte, Louisiana. He works as a mechanic so that he can have free air time over the radio to start a new ministry and soon assembles enough followers for a new church, “The One Way Road to Heaven.” While he's gaining the love and respect of the Louisiana congregation, he learns about the consequences of his behavior back home. E.F. stays put and preaches and preaches and preaches until the end of the movie, right into the credits. Society forces him to pay for what he did, and the press kit says that he has found redemption, but I didn't buy it. He hurt people and he hurt those who loved the people he hurt and all the evangelistic hot air in Louisiana isn't a self-inflicted penance for what he did in Texas, although it plays that way. As an actor, Robert Duvall has few peers. As a writer/director…well, this IS his film and it says what he wants it to say. I believed in the sincerity of E.F.'s followers, but I didn't believe in his redemption for as long as it takes to bat an eyelash. Farrah Fawcett and Miranda Richardson are outstanding as wife Jessie and lady friend, Toosie, and so is Du-vall in the title role, although they're all here strictly to serve the plot, such as it is. The Apostle gets four bones for its performances but two and a half overall, at least for this viewer.

1997 (PG-13) 134m/C Robert Duvall, Miranda Richardson, Farrah Fawcett, John Beasley, Todd Allen, June Carter Cash, Billy Bob Thornton, Rick Dial, Walton Goggins, Billy Joe Shaver; D: Robert Duvall; W: Robert Duvall; C: Barry Markowitz; M: David Mansfield. Independent Spirit Awards ‘98: Best Actor (Duvall), Best Director (Duvall), Best Film; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards ‘97: Best Actor (Duvall); National Society of Film Critics Awards ‘97: Best Actor (Duvall); Nominations: Academy Awards ‘97: Best Actor (Duvall); Independent Spirit Awards ‘98: Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Fawcett, Richardson); Screen Actors Guild Award ‘97: Best Actor (Duvall). VHS, Closed Caption, DVD

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