This is a good movie. It humanizes Jesus (and wasn't that the whole point of Jesus anyway?). I have to say that I think casting Harvey Keitel as Judas might have been the single error in this film. But honestly, have we ever taken him seriously in a role? Naw, he's pretty much a mockery of himself and that's why we love him so much.
DVD is great, a little pricey though. Cinematography is expressive as hell. Maybe a little overindulgent at times but the DVD will allow you to bathe in that overindulgence. Soundtrack is awesome.
I am a strong Christian and this is one my favorite Jesus movies. I approached this film with an open mind, reserving my criticism until the movie was over. Scorcese said that in this portrayal Jesus doesn't sin,but he does: he says after the stoning of the prostitute scene that he "wanted to kill" those people trying to stone Mary Magdelene. In scripture Christ Himself states that wanting to kill somebody is a sin. That aside, this film is not blasphemy. It simply presents the what-ifs.
You are to watch this film and ponder whether or not Jesus was tempted on the cross (Don't you think he would have felt the urge to get down?). This film is an excellent life-application tool for Christians as well. Jesus meets John the Baptist, who has a rather crazy following. His followers all run around naked, and try to exorcise their demons and pay for their sins by cutting themselves, among other things. John the Baptist tells Jesus that he prepared thw way for Jesus: with an axe. He hands Jesus the axe and tells him to wreak vengeance on those who don't obey God.
In many ways, this is a trap Christians can get into. We sometimes aren't very compassionate to sinners and act very pious. The Catholic Church in particular has a dark history of punishing sinners and pagans.
Later, Jesus changes his message from one of wrath and law to one of love and gospel. This is the way Christians should behave.
At one point jesus is sitting next to the edge of a cliff, and in a fit of anger, throws a rock over the cliff, and yells "God hates me! God want to toss me over!" We can all relate to that feeling. Sometimes we are overcome by sins that we feel that God is angry with us and wants to punish us.
The scene of most controversy is the last temptation, which is ridiculous. There is nothing sinful about Jesus getting married and then having sex with Mary. That is sex INSIDE wedlock, and the sex scene is very passive. (The scene previous to it is with Mary wearing a crown of flowers and hugging Jesus. This is their wedding. This scene is pretty passive, so people think that the next scene (sex) is premarital) It is only a temptation, it never happens. The last 30 minutes of the film are all a temptation, an exploration of Jesus' earthly life had he rejected his chosen crucifixion and lived a mortal life. On his death bed Jesus realizes his mistake and pleads to God to have him crucified. Jesus stays on the cross and saves mankind.
A very moving film. Please note that neither I nor Martin Scorsese believe that this is a true account. It simply explores the possibilities of just how human the human side of Jesus' dual nature MIGHT have been. Highly recommended. I will warn Christians considering viewing this movie that you should take the disclaimer to heart and that there is lots of nudity in this film that might offend you.
Perhaps most rewarding to me were: 1) Dafoe's stirring performance; 2) a very believable debate among Christ's disciples about who he really was; 3)what seems to be to truest, most brutal depiction of Jesus' crucifixion I can imagine. I sensed how alone he was as he faced his and our ultimate suffering.
The DVD offers a valuable discussion of archeological insight into crucifixion, among other special features.
I have decided only to review the special features of the DVD, given my religious beliefs and that many feel... Read more