Reviewed by Stephenee Snell
Rating: 3 Beans
kay, I'm not saying that I have the best taste in movies: "Pulp Fiction" sits next to "To Wong Foo.." on my video shelf. And I don't always catch on to the message: I love "The Piano" but every time I watch it I get a different meaning.
So when I rented "The Apostle" I thought I was renting an "important" film. I mean, it was nominated for awards and directed/acted by Robert Duvall. I couldn't go wrong, right?
Apparently I have sinned much in my life because "The Apostle" was hell to watch.
Sonny (Duvall) is a Texas evangelical preacher who, from what I could decipher, is devoted to the Lord but has not always been a faithful husband. Wife Jessie (Farrah Fawcett) has not only kicked him out of the house and found a new lover, she has also gotten him thrown out of his own church. Pushed to the max, a drunken Sonny bashes in the lover's head with a baseball bat and then gets the hell out of Dodge. Discarding all personal affects, he begins a journey, vowing to go where the Lord leads him. After re-baptizing himself with the name The Apostle, he ends up in small town Louisiana and decides to establish a new church. He also becomes interested in Toosie (Miranda Richardson) who is currently separated from her husband.
The "important" dramatic moment comes when a Troublemaker (Billy Bob Thornton-and I swear, Troublemaker is how he's listed in the credits) threatens harm to the church because of its racial mix of worshippers. Sonny beats the shit out of him only to have Troublemaker return with a bulldozer ready to level the church. Of course, this doesn't happen because Sonny "saves" him before damage is done.
The rest of the movie is spent with Sonny biding his time before the cops come to arrest him for murder and take him back to Texas.
Duvall portrays Sonny as a cartoon of a "televangalist" and I never felt any sympathy or compassion for him. Not one time did Sonny ever show remorse for killing the guy nor did he take responsibility for the murder and give himself up-but he claimed to be true to the Lord's way. Did he think he could make amends by starting a new church, saving a sinner, and throwing a few pot luck dinners? Seems to me Sonny and Jim Baker have quite a lot in common.
This must have been filmed during that weird phase of Farrah Fawcett's life (remember Letterman?) because she looks like a total washed out waste-oid. I kept trying to figure out why she married Sonny in the first place. And how did she get Sonny kicked out of his own church when she was just as adulterous as he?
I don't know what the storyline gained by Sonny and Toosie's (Toosie?) microscopic relationship. If Sonny claimed to be adhering to a Christian lifestyle why would he see another woman when not yet divorced from his wife? And then get pissed off that she goes back to her husband and kids?
Of course the cops start to move in on Sonny while he's preaching so, knowing it to be the last he'll do in his new church, ol' Sonny gives a rip-roarin' performance. Come on, Bob Duvall! I've seen you do much better, even your syrupy turn in "Tender Mercies" was better than this. As he's led to the squad car, Sonny, ever the martyr, even gives up his watch and jewelry to the church to pawn so they can have the money.
Call me stoopud, gang, but I just didn't get this movie. What was the point? I tried real hard, I really did, to like this movie, but I just couldn't pull it off. "The Apostle" should be listed as the 8th Deadly Sin.
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