The Apostle is one of the first of a small genre of films that I sometimes call "Christian Films for non-Christians." I define this genre as films that are well written, well acted and well produced. They are willing to accept a PG-13, or even an R rating, but have at their base a message of faith while showing both the best and worst in people they feature.
Written, produced, directed and starring Robert Duvall, The Apostle tells the story of a preacher who has it all; a loving wife, a strong church and what seems to be an unbelievable tie to God. Then his world falls apart, He finds his wife has been having an affair with an up and coming preacher who is also likely to take over his church. In a fit of rage he strikes out ....with a baseball bat and runs rather than turn himself in.
The Apostle is really about a man seeking redemption for sin from his God and his God using that man until the eventual justice is paid. All this sounds like a hokey religious movie and it might have turned into just that if it hadn't been for superior acting and strong writing. While Robert Duvall's character E.F. is the type of person who would hit you in the head with a Christian Message the film does not do so. Duval was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for this film and it has won many awards from other groups; including the Screen Actors Guild, The Los Vegas Film Critics Society and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Duvall financed much of the film himself, no studio wanted to produce it. They felt a womanizing, murdering man of God would offend the Christian market and the subject wouldn't interest the non-Christian market. They found themselves wrong on both counts.