Peter: The Redemption

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Updated October 03, 2016
Peter: The Redemption
Peter: The Redemption - Trailer

In 64 AD, after secretly setting his city ablaze to create more space for his palace, the Emperor Nero lays the blame on the new Christian sect and orders their arrest. Their leader, the Apostle Peter is thrown into prison where he is tortured. When Peter is pushed to the brink of death, Nero orders Susanna, a servant of his wife, to keep him alive and secure a confession. During her visits to the prison, Susanna develops a relationship with Martinian, a Roman soldier. Influenced by both his feelings for Susanna and the stories of Peter, Martinian comes to realise that it is not the Christians who are the criminals, but rather his own Emperor. When Susanna is discovered to be a secret Christian, and is arrested, Martinian must face a choice between abandoning her to her fate, or facing Nero and putting his own career, and life, on the line. Starring John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Raiders of the Lost Ark), Stephen Baldwin (The Usual Suspects, Born on the fourth of July), Steve Byers (Total Recall, The Immortals) and Bobbie Phillips (Show Girls, The X-Files), Peter: The Redemption is an inspiring story of love, courage, and unwavering faith.

This film is available digitally now and will be available on DVD from 17th October.

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Editor review

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Peter: The Redemption
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This film tells the story of the last days of the Apostle Peter and aims to show how at the end of his life Peter, imprisoned and beaten, is not willing to deny his Saviour. Additionally Emperor Nero, the tyrannical despot, is setting about destroying the Christians blaming Peter and his followers for setting fire to the city. Set in around AD64 this film tries to bring together Biblical accounts of Peters story, the traditional (but not in the Bible) story of his death and the great fire of Rome .

Peter himself is played by John Rhys-Davies, an actor well known for his part in blockbusters like "Lord Of The Rings" series as Gimli the dwarf, but a man who has many fine roles to his name. He is clearly the central character to this film, after all it is called "Peter", but the story moves along thanks to "Martinian" one of Nero's trusted soldiers and his romantic interest the healing servant of Nero's wife, Susanna. These characters are also played by fairly accomplished actors Steve Byers (recently seen in "The Man In The High Castle") and Brittany Bristow who has appeared on many well known TV series and a presenter on US TV series "Wildlife Quest" for the National Geographic Channel. These two bring the watchers the main dialogue between friends, but also the two opinions regarding Peter, one a loyal subject of Nero who see's Peter as trouble and the other a Christian who wants to save Peter. Nero is played by another fairly well-known actor, Steven Baldwin has appeared in the films "Born on the Fourth of July" and "The Usual Suspects" but more recently he has been in many faith based films like this one.

Sadly even this accomplished cast could not redeem this film as from the very beginning it fails to deliver on the promises. The action takes place in very few settings, just a few small sets that look fairly cheap, but also incredibly clean - it would have been a much dirtier place especially after the destructive Great Fire. Costumes sadly look like something not much better than a school play might rustle together. Then worst of all there is the casting of Steven Baldwin as Nero, it really doesn't work as he tries to play this badly written despot in a very muted way. Perhaps he was warned against hamming up his role, well he certainly didn't do that - in fact combined with the poorly written and clunky seduction scenes it made Nero look weak and ineffectual!

Peter: The Redemption had a relatively small budget compared to the films that are seen on the big screen and as such it very much looks like an 80's TV special rather than the blockbuster that it would like to aim for. However I can forgive many things because of a small budget but this has few areas of interest. As Peter recounts to Susanna some of the things he experienced when following Jesus there are flashbacks to some key moments - these sections of the script take key parts of the Bible narrative, but it just doesn't quite sit properly. The one scene that I did find quite harrowing and effective was one that is not really family friendly - this is as Nero has decided to burn Christians to light his gardens - as the human torches get lit outside the screams start, Nero and his small court sit and listen to the screams and a musical performance. Despite the bad acting and the rather horrific screams this scene hit a chord as to just what some people suffered just because they said they believe the teachings of Jesus.

Faith based films can be good, and even in the last couple of years we have seen a great rise in the quality of the best ones. In this case though this suffers from poor script, direction, production and casting. When you take this film and compare it to something like "Risen" which has a bigger budget, but it has something more important, it's believable even though there are similar threads to the story. Despite many of the strands of the story being straight from the Bible this simply feels unbelievable!

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