*The following contains spoilers for the movie, Apostle(2018). You can find it on Netflix now, if you have not seen it. I highly recommend.
The Power of His Resurrection Lies in The The Touch of His Suffering
And so starts Gareth Evans’ Apostle, a film about a man trying to rescue his sister from the clutches of a fringe cult and their broken god. Yet the heart of Apostle is more a story of the pain that comes with a life lived and the rebirth that inevitably comes after.
In 1905, a prophet has arisen in Wales with honeyed words and the promise of sanctuary to those who seek it. The downtrodden rush to the prophet’s side and a community centered around his ward’s edicts springs up on an isolated island. Only those who have suffered the most are ready for the assured change.
Thomas Richardson, played by Dan Stevens, is a man who was once thought dead but is brought back, morphed through his suffering. The events of the film are yet another gauntlet of pain that he must endure, sparking another rebirth.
While many might see the acts of religious zealotry displayed by the cult members as a condemnation of religion itself from Gareth Evans, I see it more as a denunciation of blind faith. It is the evil in man’s hearts that corrupts the principals they deem holy, not the words themselves.
The leading cult members’ faith twists and turns within them to suit the convenience of their needs. The promise of a liberated commune and spiritual reparation in of itself is not evil. It is the intent with which such a vow is given that makes it diabolical or not.
Since this island is full of broken humans, it is only fitting that their god is just as broken. Once a free spirit offering sanctuary herself, her supposed chosen have bound her to their will and must constantly offer her a pittance of flesh to receive her bounties.
It is yet another way for people to bastardize their divine gifts. Their efforts to remake their world in an ideal way turns all the beautiful things they already have before them to ash. They can turn a blind eye to this type of destruction if it means bringing about the change they so desperately seek.