Movie Review – The Apostate (1999)

This is a forgettable flick despite the formidable talents of Dennis Hopper and Richard Grieco. They know how to swim but how can they save the Titanic?

Nothing works in this movie. Story, effects, characters… it’s all hackneyed, stereotypical, Devil-Meets-the-Church type of artificial conflict.

It is hard to place a finger on any one particular aspect of this film that does not work because there are so many things that do not work in tandem.

Even the music is weird — an amalgamation of spooky Gregorian chants, some electronic scratchings and base riffs emulating heart-beats, mixed with some “Clarinet Blues” from the Balkans, etc. It’s all over the place, like the plot line.

But worst of all, both Hopper and Grieco are seriously miscast. Especially watching Hopper is like watching an actor playing an actor playing a role. It is that self-conscious a performance; that on the surface and contrived. He is almost checking out his watch to see if it is time to go home.

Hopper is certainly no Hannibal Lecter in this particular film. His outbursts that were supposed to reveal some serious evil end up as the whining and protestations of a an artist bored out of his skull so he ends up butchering good looking young people right and left. All of course covered with a thin patina of “metaphysical angst” directed at Mother Mary, Jesus Himself and the Rest of The Universe.

Opposite him is the Grieco character, an artist priest… You can tell the kind of real talent Grieco has (fantastic diction, for example) but thanks to wrong directing, he ends up with an over-the-top performance that is painful to watch.

The bad guy Hopper has butchered up Grieco’s male prostitute brother. So the Grieco character makes it his business to find the left-handed artist madman. It takes a frustrated artist to find another who loves to paint with blood.

I’ll just stop there since I actually do not want you to commit the error of renting this DVD and watch it. Don’t.

A total disappointment. 1 out of 10.

Go rent the “Exorcist” if you want to really see some scary merchandise that pits the Catholic Church against Evil. Or the “Silence of the Lambs” if you enjoy the shock of facing some truly demented and twisted characters. But not this. This is just boring.