" I may be on the Devils' hitlist, but I'm on Gods' mailing list" -Euliss "Sonny" Dewey - A.K.A. The Apostle E.F.
Most people know Robert Duvall as an outstanding actor, appearing in critically acclaimed films such as "The Godfather", "Apocalypse Now", and "To Kill a Mockingbird". Very few are aware that he also has four films under his belt as director. "The Apostle", I believe, is the cream of the crop. Duvall also wrote this script and shopped it around for years before fronting four million dollars of his own money to finance it. You can tell it is a labour of true love upon viewing.
Euliss "Sonny" Dewey had a near death experience as a child and was prayed upon by his church and survived. Ever since that day, he has been on fire with the spirit of the Holy Ghost, and only lives to pass the word and save souls. The only problem is, he's human, just like everyone else. He has sin in his heart, and struggles with many demons. When his wife decides to end their marriage, he prays loudly and at great length about what direction he should turn. However, in a moment of passion and anger, Sonny loses his family and his church in one fell swoop. The one thing he does not lose is the desire to preach the gospel. So, he sets out on a journey far away, to find a quiet town where he can hopefully go unnoticed by authorities and set up a new church and find hope in the work of God.
There are very uplifting moments in this film, and it is satisfying to see a man of God portrayed in such a real, honest way. Just because you lift a Bible and preach the Word of God does not make you invincible to sins of the flesh. Although that may be what most preachers try to convey. One thing did bother me about this film, having been a church goer in the past, and experiencing the shock of discovering that your Pastor has real sin in their life, and even at one point seeing a Pastor overthrown for his indiscretions, I wonder if some of the lives Sonny touches may not be worse off after hearing about his past. Will any of his followers turn from God, because they felt betrayed by the very man that led them toward Jesus? Or, will they see that all men have faults and that the heart of the man is greater than his mistakes, and continue a life of faith? These are the questions that we are left to consider after seeing this great performance, with Farrah Fawcett portraying Sonnys' wife and June Carter Cash as his Momma. Billy Bob Thornton has a fairly short but poignant part in the film as a lost man looking for answers, but filled with fear and anger.
I enjoyed this film and have seen it three or four times now. The pace can be a tad slow, and if you are uncomfortable with evangelical or "charismatic" religion, you may be a tad put off by some of the church scenes. But if you have an open mind, this is really worth the watch.