My Name Is Paul Apr01

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My Name Is Paul

It could be 1984. It could be 1,000 years in the future. It could be the day after tomorrow.

nameispaulThe time is not as important as the political regime that has arisen to dominate society. It is a totalitarian regime and the outlook for society is bleak. Muted shades of gray dominate the sets as a group of government assassins hunt down and exterminate the one threat to the New World Order – followers of The Way.

My Name Is Paul, a dandy little film by upstart Quiet No More Films, re-imagines the biblical story of Saul of Tarsus in dismal futuristic setting (I would say post-apocalyptic, but that phrase has been way over-used and misused). In this version of the story, Paul Cambio assumes the role of master butcher, methodically tracking down these apparently evil insurrectionists, until he experiences first hand what they really stand for.

Followers of The Way, as it turns out, are really peaceful, loving, forgiving people who just want to share God’s love with the world (since God and the world’s systems have always been at odds, it’s no wonder the existing government feels threatened). If you’ve read the Bible, you know the story, (and if you haven’t…well, you should), so I’m not giving away any spoilers by revealing that Paul Cambio renounces his life of violence, converts and becomes one of the great evangelists of The Way.

That’s the bare synopsis of the story. Here’s the review of the film:

The Good – For a first time director, Trey Ore does a fine job of instilling a cohesive vision for the story into his cast. He and director of photography Christian Simpson excelled at action sequences, and the overall look of the film was great. Lead actor Andrew Roth was particularly well cast in the role of Paul (and the dude is ripped – geez, he really could be a good assassin if acting doesn’t work out for him). Co-stars Vanessa Ore (Pricilla) and Cranston Johnson (Kain) also turn in fine performances, but it’s little Abigail Rose Cornell as Clare that really stole my heart. This young actress is definitely one to watch for in coming years. Torry Martin and Gary Moore also provided some welcome comic relief as the mad scientist and his sidekick. The filmmakers also made some really good decisions regarding the use of special effects. In a post-apocalyptic (dang, I said it) flick, viewers tend to expect big budget, whiz-bang special effects that a low-budget indie film simply can’t deliver without coming across cheesy (Shark-nado, anyone?). My Name Is Paul had some moments where they could have attempted such effects. Instead, the filmmakers showed restrait, and the film was better for it.

The Bad – As with most low-budget films the quality of acting was uneven. It was easy to tell the more seasoned actors from those just starting out. My Name Is Paul could have really benefited from a tighter edit. There were times when the action just dragged. Not enough time was spent developing the main characters (for example, I never really got inside Kain’s head or grasped his motivation), and the color scheme felt a bit dated – bad guys in black, good guys in shades of white.

The Ugly – The DVD cover art showing the faces of all the main characters just didn’t work for me. It did not create any dramatic tension that would compel me to pick it up off the shelf. Odd choice for the cover, because the original movie poster that focused on the iconic double-barrel pistol was way more compelling. Of course, that could have been a decision by the distributor, Word Films. When trying to get a movie into Christian bookstores, having a gun on the cover might not be the best decision from a marketing standpoint.