By: Reel 127 (Three Beers) –
What happens when a man tries to leave the Catholic Church? Gonzalo finds out in The Apostate, where leaving the religion he was raised on is just another thing going on in his hectic life. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this movie. This is only the director’s third feature film, I recognized none of the actors, and the film is from Uruguay, which I am willing to rank as tied for last with many other countries for most films I have seen by country. As a result The Apostate ended up being full of surprises both good and bad.
The bureaucracy of the whole story is one of the funniest parts of this film. With the rise of atheism in the modern world the idea of officially leaving a religion does not seem to be explored very much. There are plenty loss of faith stories but not any that have the character fill out the necessary paperwork to give up their religion. It’s pretty funny to watch Gonzalo spending all this time chasing down people just to leave the Catholic Church. The Apostate also has a short runtime. As a result the film does not try to stretch itself out into something it’s not. This leads to the pacing being just right and the film never getting boring.
I’ve never heard the song “Losing My Religion.”
But I’m just certain this movie is based on it!
Something I found very odd about this film was its score. The film is a dark comedy, yet constantly has music that belongs in a Hollywood Golden Age film. When musical cues begin in The Apostate I feel like Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart is about to enter. It seems like the director wanted to go with something completely different for the score. I appreciate the attempt at diversity, but it fails in this film. This may have been an attempt to play into the humor they were trying to create. Unfortunately, it doesn’t add anything but confusion.
As added disappointment,
the late Jimmy Stewart does not make an appearance.
This film does not handle the balance of humor and drama very well. It will sometimes venture too far into one or the other. Most dark comedies are set up so that the humor comes from the drama as it unfolds. With The Apostate it feels like the filmmaker was changing his mind constantly while filming. Like he would show up each day and go, “Hmm. I think I want this to be a comedy again.” I would have loved to see this as a full dark comedy with the same amount of drama, but a lot more jokes to it.
While The Apostate is far from a bad movie, it offers very little worth seeing. This film has an excellent premise with plenty to work with but often fails to follow these paths. This should be a story-driven film but is made as a character-driven film. I honestly recommend a pass on this one. But if you feel like you would really enjoy it then there really isn’t any harm in watching it.
The Apostate (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Gonzalo goes to the church.
Take a Drink: when you can’t tell if it is a dream sequence or not.
Take a Shot: every time Gonzalo is nude (this happens more than it should).
Finish Your Drink: when Gonzalo finishes his walk from the church.