The title is a bit of a bait-and-switch, in that this is far from a basic biography of the man who persecuted Christians, had a conversion experience on the road to Damascus, etc.; instead, it’s both considerably less overtly dramatic, and at least a little more interesting. The narrow focus finds Greek physician and eventual Gospel-writer Luke (erstwhile Jesus from Passion of the Christ Jim Caviezel) coming to Rome ca. 67 A.D., as Nero ramps up attacks on Christians after blaming them for the great destructive fires. There Luke meets with the imprisoned Paul (James Faulkner), hoping for words of inspiration that will eventually become several epistles and the Acts of the Apostles—and yes, it’s a bit like a musical biopic’s silly “creation of the hit song” scenes when we hear Paul utter words from 1 Corinthians, followed by telling Luke, “Write it down.” But that’s only part of the narrative, which also deals with a Roman prison prefect (Olivier Martinez) and the Roman Christians’ debates over whether to persevere in Rome or flee to a safer place. The perfunctory filmmaking doesn’t exactly perk up all the talky-ness, but the strong cast gives weight to recognizing this as a time when a newborn faith was still trying to stick to its principles, and even understand what those principles were.
Director: Andrew Hyatt
Producer: T.J. Berden, David Zelon, Eric Groth, Rick Jackson, Harrison Powell and Jim Caviezel
Cast: Jim Caviezel, James Faulkner, Olivier Martinez, Joanne Whalley, John Lynch, Yorgos Karamihos, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Alessandro Sperduti, Manuel Cauchi, Noah Huntley, Kenneth Spiteri, Alexandra Vino, Antony Edridge, Andre Agius, John Pace and Erica Muscat