This film was previously reviewed on 09/10/2017 as part of London Film Festival.
Apostasy raises very important questions on how religion can, or can’t, adapt to modern life. With a focus on a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, issues around views on blood transfusions and relationships with those outside the religion are brought into focus. Unfortunately, the film is ultimately so confused by the questions that it asks that there are no answers to be found here.
Characters question their faith, then don’t, then do, but without any resolution for them or the audience. The same topics are covered again and again, making the film feel overly long despite its 95-minute running time. Scenes lack direction and purpose, with characters changing viewpoints seemingly in a blink of an eye.
The cast are great, however, and do their very best with a weak and flabby script. Siobhan Finneran as the mother stands out most of all, giving a strong performance – but her character is the most confused of all. While you long to see her go on a voyage of discovery, she instead goes from kind and compassionate to coldhearted in a split second. It’s sad that there’s a lot of wasted talent in this film.
Can religion have a real place within 2017? Does it need to adapt and fully accept those outside of it? Is god compassionate and loving, or is the love purely conditional? These are the valid questions that Apostasy raises but fails to get any grasp on. This is especially a shame as it focuses on a religion that previously hasn’t been explored very much on screen.
An interesting story that never finds its path, Apostasy is confused, long-winded and lacking any real direction. While the cast play their parts well, the narrative lacks any real cohesion and the ending is miserably lacklustre.
CAST: Siobhan Finneran, Sacha Parkinson, Molly Wright, Robert Emms
DIRECTOR: Dan Kokotajlo
WRITER: Dan Kokotajlo
SYNOPSIS: A faithful Jehovah’s Witness is forced to shun her own sister because of a religious transgression. As the separation draws out, she starts to question the meaning of God’s love.