In 1905 England, Dan Stevens plays a drifter searching for his kidnapped sister inside a mysterious religious cult.
The cult leaders deliver menacing performances, and Stevens disappears into his role as an outsider confronting the mob. Writer/director/editor Gareth Evans’s kinetic-but-realistic style serves these elements well, delivering taut action dripping with manic testosterone. The film’s world feels authentic, from the sets to the costumes to the sweaty, grimy performers themselves.
But Evans fumbles the story’s supernatural elements. Early on, we’re shown a menacing-looking barn with a strange figure silhouetted in its doorway. An excellent visual, full of ominous mystery and dread. But Evans reveals the barn’s secret too early, and the film never recovers.
Compounding this misstep, Evans applies the same kinetic-but-realistic visual style to the film’s supernatural elements, betraying the latex and makeup artifice.
This may sound as though I didn’t enjoy Apostle. I did. But given the potential, I can’t help feeling a bit disappointed.