The Apostle has been Robert Duvall's baby for 15 years, and its arrival in theaters is glorious to behold. Duvall, who also wrote, directed, and financed the film, stars as a preacher seeking rebirth following a falling out with God. After he seriously injures his wife's lover and flees Texas for rural Louisiana, Duvall rechristens himself The Apostle E.F. and begins a quest to renew his faith. The Apostle offers a glimpse of religion in the Deep South which is at once overwhelming and imposing, but ultimately rewarding. Marred only by an unresolved romantic subplot involving Miranda Richardson, The Apostle is for all intents and purposes the perfect showcase for Duvall's remarkable talents. The numerous, extended revival scenes are amazing, with Duvall a dynamo of divine energy and devout dedication. Yet for every exuberant "Amen" and "Jesus" shouted, Duvall's eyes sadly acknowledge his character's rapidly impending future. Realizing he cannot be forgiven his past sins, Duvall spends every waking hour preaching the gospel to the mostly black church he founds, as well as to any other wayward souls he encounters. Though the supporting cast, including Farrah Fawcett as Duvall's wife, is uniformly excellent, all eyes are on Duvall in what may be the greatest on-screen religious role since Robert Mitchum's unforgettable turn in Night Of The Hunter.

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