18 April 2017 | Gblakelii
New elements added to historical drama add zest.
Review based on 1st showing on Spanish television, April 14, 2017. When seeing the movie title Santiago Apóstol(2017)the first question many people may have is, which apostle is that? Of course in different languages the Apostles have different names. For example in French there is Pierre and Jean; Polish-Jan; Slovak-Ondrej, on and on. Santiago is a little more difficult to guess than most. He is, in fact, James the Greater, brother of St. John the Evangelist and one of the 12 apostles. This Mexican movie, which began filming in June 2015, deals with Santiago from the time he became an apostle to his death. The time spent with Jesus accounts for a half hour. It's quite a good abridgment of what would normally be the entire plot of another movie. The whole 2 hours are engrossing with a fast pace, good acting/direction, vivid colors and wonderful costume design. If there was an award for best casting this film would win it! Julián Gil is superb as the lead character. Once the first quarter of the plot winds down we then see Santiago as he coverts followers, confronts temptation, avoids capture and shows perhaps more aggression then his fellow apostles. One scene shows him single handed fighting 3 or 4 men to set a group of captives(who were being transported) free. Another scene has him engaged in a one on one sword fight, winning decisively. A key ingredient in the plot concerns his visions of Mary, the Mother of God(played with flair by Scarlet Ortiz), and her help. As Santiago has a major connection to Spain and is believed to have been buried in Santiago de Compostela, it is not a surprise that the shooting location is Pontevedra, Galicia, northwestern Spain. The setting is indeed a big plus! A nice addition to this movie are the occasional full screen geographical maps showing where the journeys are continuing to. Well worth watching and a fine addition to the many religious biographical dramas of the past.