<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 1, 2021



JIM CAVIEZEL is best known for playing Jesus in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”. 

He now plays a staunch defender of Jesus and Christianity in his latest movie, “Infidel”, written, directed, and produced by American Iranian filmmaker Cyrus Nowrasteh. 

This is their second film together as they first worked in Nowrasteh’s “The Stoning of Soraya M”, an acclaimed Persian film in 2009 where Caviezel plays a journalist who helps a woman whose niece is sentenced to be stoned to death. The film was banned in Iran.

In “Infidel”, Caviezel plays Doug Rawlins, who works for a software company but is also a journalist-blogger who writes strongly about his faith. 

The irony is that his own wife, Liz (Claudia Karvan), who works with the U.S. State department, is herself a non-believer. She lost her faith after they figured in a car crash and she lost the unborn baby that she is carrying. 

He is invited to attend an interfaith conference in Cairo and his wife warns him not to attend as he has the tendency to preach and he might just antagonize the Muslims who will be there. 

Despite his wife’s reminders, he still goes to Egypt and preaches: "Jesus is God, and He wants to be your God." After the conference, he gets kidnapped in his hotel room by the Hezbollah, a militant Islamic group based in Lebanon. 

He is badly beaten up while in prison and asked to renounce his faith which, of course, he refuses to do.

When he manages to escape, he is caught again and tortured, then taken to a prison for political prisoners in Tehran, Iran. He is taken to court and with trumped up charges that he is actually a spy for the CIA, he is summarily sentenced to die in front of a firing squad. 

His scene in front of a firing squad is actually the film’s opening sequence and the story is then told in flashbacks. The U.S. government does not want to get involved and help him, so his wife personally goes to Iran to pull possible strings and personally implore the authorities there to free her husband. 

As expected, they will not listen to her and Doug himself just tells her to go home as he is ready to face whatever his fate maybe. At the film’s start, it’s stated that the story is inspired by true events but we’re not sure about the veracity of this claim. 

It turns out that there is a group in Tehran that aims to help political prisoners, mostly persecuted Christians and also Muslims that oppose the Iranian regime. 

They contact Liz and combining forces, they stage a daring rescue that will help give freedom not only to Doug but also to all the other political prisoners inside the prison facility where he is held captive. 

The film’s climax offers exciting action sequences with many gripping suspenseful moments. If this really happened, well, the prisoners should really be grateful to the militants who staged the daring rescue mission to liberate them at the risk of losing their own lives.

Jim Caviezel has the required solemn on screen presence that serves his role well and his quiet moments with Liz can be quite touching. 

His character stands for many other Americans who are detained in Iran without much justification. Karvan invests her role as the devoted wife with so much fortitude and dignity. 

The film has an international cast that delivers creditable performances across the board, led by Turkish-British actor Hal Ozan as Ramzi, Doug’s brutal tormentor who can be quite frightening.

The director makes sure that his lead character is not presented as a saint or as a martyr who just endures suffering. When he’s being mauled, he asks his captors to stop hurting him and begs them to let him go home. 

His own wife even tells him: "You're preachy. It weirds people out." He later admits it’s stupid of him to preach in Cairo. 

This makes the lead character very human and the film not an overly preachy faith-based film that hits you on the head with its hardsell message.