‘Apostle’ Review: Something Awesome This Way Comes

Gareth Evans, who garnered praise for his ambitious and tight-fisted The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2, makes a surprising and deliriously successful left hand turn with his Apostle, a thriller which serves up a gumbo pot of influences yet thankfully serves up a unique flavor of its own.


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‘The Raid 2’ Interview: Director Gareth Evans Elaborates on Visual Style

The Raid 2 (Sony PIctures Classics, CR: Akhirwan Nurhaidir & Gumilar Triyoga)

The beauty of Gareth Evans’ The Raid and The Raid 2 lies in the operatic quality of his action sequences. Their main strengths lie in the pure, visceral thrill of it all, but thankfully these moments are intricately planned and designed by Mr. Evans and his cinematographers (Matt Flannery and Dimas Iman Subhono are the DPs)

This time out, Evans broadens his narrative to show a deeper picture of the dangerous characters who populate Rama’s (Iko Uwais) world. Whether it’s an assassin (Yayan Ruhian) who has that proverbial date with destiny or a crime lord (Alex Abbad) that’s moving up the ranks, The Raid 2 has a meatier storyline than its predecessor.

The Raid (Sony Pictures Classics, CR: Akhirwan Nurhaidir, Gumilar Triyoga)With The Raid 2, Rama (in a possible nod to Infernal Affairs and The Departed) takes his undercover cop duties to the limits, as he willingly gets imprisoned to nurture a relationship with a crime boss’ entitled son (Arifin Putra). Throughout his journey, Rama slugs it out jail, tangles with a tool wielding lady named Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle), and cooks up a near fatal encounter in a restaurant kitchen.

For Evans, visualizing sequences doesn’t include a ton of artistic renderings. To find inspiration, he simply uses a camera to shoot his surroundings. “I’ve never done a mood board,” said Evans. “I don’t really do storyboards that much. I do shot lists with my DoP (director of photography) and then when we visit sets, we take a bunch of stills.”

Lighting was also an important, and improved, element of the sequel. “On the first one, it was (shooting in) corridors, and rooms, and an atrium,” he adds. “That was it, so we couldn’t really do much to change it around. We could put in a broken light now and again, but there really wasn’t much we could do to play around with the color scape of (The Raid). It was very kind of monochrome and dark and dingy.”

To hear Gareth Evans discuss the visual design and lighting technique for The Raid 2, click on the audio below:

The Raid 2 opens in New York and Los Angeles March 28.