Who would have thought that an unbelieving homosexual Marxist would have made perhaps the best interpretation of Jesus Christ in the history of the cinema? Pier Paolo Pasolini had a great respect for Christ, despite not believing him to be the savior of the world; and who wouldn't have respect for a man willing to die because he loves you? Pasolini made the film to give a fair measure to Christ and he succeeds on every level.
Despite a low budget, the film encompasses the entire gospel of St.Matthew accurately and realistically, utilizing Italian peasants and non-actors to fill the supporting roles. There is no political or moral side taken to making the film; the events recorded by Matthew are shown as they are written, and nothing more. To me this is a strength and it makes me happy to see a film take the literature seriously.
Another thing that I liked was the lack of gore details. I have nothing against violence in films, but I felt that Mel Gibson's recent film dwelt on the violent aspects far too much. The crucification and resurrection are shown, but they are not focused entirely on. As a Christian I feel that Jesus' representation comes through the miracles and the sacrifice, not just the sacrifice, and this film shows both with a fair disposition to the other.
Recommended for Christians or atheists who love Italian cinema. It is broad enough and good enough to work with almost any lover of film.