Apostle (2018) Netflix
The dancing's over. Now it gets dirty.*
Premise: Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) heads to a remote island in search of his sister who has been kidnapped for ransom by a cult, the island's only inhabitants. He attempts to stay incognito, as the secrets of this strange and dangerous place begin to reveal themselves rather brutally.
Delivery: And breathe... That was intense.
Apostle is the first English language film of Gareth Evans who wrote and directed The Raid and The Raid 2. He also writes and directs here. I am a huge fan of his, if you haven't seen either of The Raid movies, do so or I won't be your friend any more. They're palpable action films, belying Evans' novice status and relatively young age.
However. There have been a few Netflix “original” films I was looking forward to recently, Hold the Dark and 22 July. They weren't terrible, but certainly Hold the Dark didn't summit the lofty mountain of expectation I put before it, and 22 July is about the murder of 77 people, largely children, so... Apostle, though, is a film you can enjoy, really revel in. It is brutal, brilliant film making and pretty much exactly my cup of tea.
Evans has an eye for violence, and so naturally I was excited to see his foray into horror. The trailer was excellent, and that it is on Netflix is both a good and bad thing. Good, because I could see it asap (I'm currently in hospital, cinema trips are off the menu), and because it will be widely accessible and hopefully create an even bigger fanbase for Evans- meaning more creative control and bigger budgets for future projects. Hopefully.
Bad, because the film is superb and sucks you in to it, even on a mobile phone, but I did wish I was seeing it in the cinema. Do yourself a favour and watch Apostle with no distractions, in the dark, on the biggest god damned TV you can lay your hands on legally.
Dan Stevens, Michael Sheen and Mark Lewis John, star, but it would be unfair to pick them out for individual praise as the whole cast sell the story very well. As Thomas gets closer to the truth, and to rescuing his sister, the cult leaders who clearly are getting desperate to perpetuate the fallacy of their utopia, get nearer to rooting him out. Apostle pretty much had me gripped from the start and didn't let go, tightening its twine around my throat as the two hours flew by. The film is wonderfully, creatively shot with an incredible variety of angles and techniques used to unsettle the viewer and place you right, uncomfortably in the centre of the action. The score is incredible, really amping the action up to eleven.
I'm not sure how scary Apostle is, because I wouldn't say I was scared, but I was totally caught up in it and completely invested in what happened. Different things scare different people though, and I have no doubt it will be too much for some. As a seasoned horror hound, a man who enjoys a gore-gasm, Apostle did what all those who like to taste the violence search for; it made me wince. It challenged me, and unlike when my doctor challenges me, I enjoyed it.
Bedsit it? Apostle is a film I'll definitely go back to. I will look forward to watching it on a huge screen without distractions. There are twists and turns, and it may well become a film with some legs. A potential classic. 9/10
*Okay so that's Road House's, but I'm really getting annoyed with the no tagline thing on Netflix.