EUFF Review: “Saul: The Journey To Damascus” (2014)


Directed by: Mario Azzoopardi

Written by: Mario Azzopardi, John Patus

Produced by: Tashi Bieler, Nathan Graham Black, Agnes Bristow

Cinematography by: Russ Goozee

Country: Malta

Cast: Kyle Schmid, John Rhys-Davies, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Callum Blue, Kris Holden-Ried, Brittany Bristow, Malcoml Ellul, Dan Cade, Leif Bristow, Brent Crawford, Larissa Bonaci

There was a time when people used to live and breathe for what they believed in. Religion divided society into two categories; those who believe in God, but not the Son of God, and those who believe in God, and in his Son as well. Saul: The Journey To Damascus takes place just after Jesus`s crucifixion, when those who start to follow him lose their lives, while the others continue their journey to Damascus, to spread the word of God, and his Son’s word.  But one man, Saul of Tarsus, strongly disagrees that Jesus was the Messiah, or the son of God, and willingly sentences anyone to death if they admit that they are one of his followers. A fateful accident will make him believe in what he has denied all the time- his blindness.

Saul: The Journey To Damascus begins with Stephen (Dan Cade), who has been sentenced to death by stoning for his faith in the Son Of God. Even though Johanna (Brittany Bristow) and Ester (Larissa Bonaci) try to stop the execution, Saul (Kyle Schmid, A History Of Violence, Copper) is steadfast in his decision. But before Stephen dies, he forgives Saul for what he has done. Being a dedicated leader and an ardent fighter for his faith and traditions, Saul follows the group of people, along with Mary Magdalene (Emmanuelle Vaugier), Johannah (Brittany Bristow) and Addai (Callum Blue).

And the twelve, along with Johanna and Mary Magdalene, decide to go to Damascus, where they can spread the word of Jesus, and escape from Saul, who tries to hunt them down. But while on this mission, Saul, who denies the existence of the Son of God, is blinded. However, during his blindness, Saul starts seeing and understanding more than when he was sighted. Once Saul joins the Christians, he must escape his former allies who want him pay the ultimate price for his “betrayal” – death.

Saul: The Journey To Damascus is an epic Biblical movie, directed by Mario Azzopardi. This is not the first time he has touched upon a religious subject in film; the first one was “Savage Messiah”, with Polly Walker. In his new film, made for TV, Azzopardi does not try to make a Hollywood style Biblical film, but rather concentrates on the story without overloaded or unnecessary distracting scenes which can take the audience away from the entire story. The costume and cinematography of “Saul: The Journey To Damascus” is fascinating enough, since this film was made for TV. The entire cast also does a good job delivering a convincing performance.

The film does not lose its meaning and manages to keep the audience interested in the story, even though some of them might take the subject matter too personal, due to religious reasons.

Despite the fact this is a sensitive subject, Azzopardi`s film does not aim to change the audience`s opinion on certain things, such as when Saul, even though he accepts the existence of God, shows no mercy to anyone who follows Jesus Christ. The important message that is delivered in Saul: The Journey To Damascus is, it does not matter what you believe in, as long as your faith doesn’t harm anyone, and brings nothing but purity, acceptance and love.

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