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Thread: Apostle (Gareth Evans)

  1. #1

    Apostle (Gareth Evans)

    Netflix

    Last 10 Movies Seen
    (90+ = canonical, 80-89 = brilliant, 70-79 = strongly recommended, 60-69 = good, 50-59 = mixed, 40-49 = below average with some good points, 30-39 = poor, 20-29 = bad, 10-19 = terrible, 0-9 = soul-crushingly inept in every way)

    El
    (1973) 70
    The Day After
    (1983
    ) 63
    Duck, You Sucker (1971) 68
    Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) 71
    Noriko’s Dinner Party
    (2005) 61
    The Third Murder (2017) 56

    /Audition
    (1999) 85

    /Toy Story
    (1995) 65
    Vice (2018) 57
    The Counterfeit Traitor (1962) 62

    Stuff at Letterboxd
    Listening Habits at LastFM

  2. #2
    62/100

    Works up quite a head of steam in the final stretch, which is a good thing given that it is mostly just empty-headed the rest of the time. Evans is as slick as they come, and can stage an individual scene with the best of them, but he doesn't have much else to say except for "Nice scene, no?"

    The actors, to their credit, give it their absolute all, finding the madness in method and dragging the film through its rough patches. It actually might have worked better if the mystery had been preserved a little longer, but then having the oddities like The Grinder around for longer also has its benefits, turning your typical tale of freaky rural cults into something more chillingly unworldy.
    Last 10 Movies Seen
    (90+ = canonical, 80-89 = brilliant, 70-79 = strongly recommended, 60-69 = good, 50-59 = mixed, 40-49 = below average with some good points, 30-39 = poor, 20-29 = bad, 10-19 = terrible, 0-9 = soul-crushingly inept in every way)

    El
    (1973) 70
    The Day After
    (1983
    ) 63
    Duck, You Sucker (1971) 68
    Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) 71
    Noriko’s Dinner Party
    (2005) 61
    The Third Murder (2017) 56

    /Audition
    (1999) 85

    /Toy Story
    (1995) 65
    Vice (2018) 57
    The Counterfeit Traitor (1962) 62

    Stuff at Letterboxd
    Listening Habits at LastFM

  3. #3
    White Tiger Field Stay Puft's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    3,563
    I was quite taken by this. Evans shoots the hell out of it. The arrival on the island is a great sequence, the lines of bodies dotting the landscape and the way the shipwrecks look like crucifixes on the horizon. It certainly takes a long time for things to fall into place, though. Lots of questionable subplots at first glance, one too many coincidences/contrivances that safeguard our hero from discovery/harm, etc. I can be charitable and excuse some of it in retrospect (if, e.g., we accept that our hero is being guided/protected), but a lot of it is still clumsily plotted and not always dramatically satisfying.

    Maybe the Raid films adjusted my expectations incorrectly, but I never expected a story like this from Evans. It wears its influences on its sleeve, of course, and "man is the real monster" is not a novel horror concept, but I thought Evans deployed these genre tropes in striking fashion. The torture scene is a real standout, depicting the extremity of violence wrought upon the sons and daughters of patriarchy, sinners restored to an obscene state of Grace through phallic penetration. (It probably veers too far into action movie territory at times, though. The chase through the tunnel is a lot more engaging than, e.g., the "fight scene" with The Grinder). The crisis of faith that anchors the narrative builds to a subtle (in the way events are depicted economically) but effective cosmic finish. It's uneven, but I still really enjoyed it.

    I was thinking about mother! during the ending credits, which I never expected, but I think there are some similarities in the way they conceptualize and approach symbolic representations of Mother(hood). Evans being more straightforward given the genre, whereas Aronofsky deliberately layers multiple meanings (some obviously metafictional).
    Last edited by Stay Puft; 01-15-2019 at 11:05 PM.
    Making yet another effort again in 2019.

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  4. #4
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    8,833
    Yeah, this is an unexpected (and very welcome) career turn from Evans. There's something of Sam Raimi in the manic way he directs violence and stages his elaborate set pieces, but more attention is paid to the actors, with Dan Stevens going further into his deranged screen persona created for Legion. Wholly enjoyable for anyone who's even a tiny bit into Horror and doesn't man gruesome torture sequences.

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