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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Jesus movies
A disclaimer appears prior to the start of this movie that clearly states that this film is fiction and is not considered by Scorcese to tbe the 5th Gospel. Therefore, this film is not blasphemy.
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...
Published on March 1 2004 by Paul Fischer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars a review of the special features on the DVD - not the movie.
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
I have decided only to review the special features of the DVD, given my religious beliefs and that many feel that they have heard enough from those who find the film problematic.
The audio commentary of the film was surprising. The director mentions that those who consider the film sacrelige...
Published on May 17 2004 by Ted


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad. Intriguing., March 6 2004
By 
Let's be honest. We don't know a whole lot about Jesus. We have a few words that he spoke (allegedly) written down decades after his death. So historical speculation is natural, people have been doing it for centuries, so let's just drop the whole blasphemy angle. Hell, if it's truly a sin to create a movie like this, Martin Scorcese would have been subject to a whole lotta holy wrath by now. Then again, those eyebrows surely are a holy terror, so who knows.
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Jesus movies, March 1 2004
By 
Paul Fischer (NE) - See all my reviews
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A disclaimer appears prior to the start of this movie that clearly states that this film is fiction and is not considered by Scorcese to tbe the 5th Gospel. Therefore, this film is not blasphemy.
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Apochryphal Christ, May 11 2002
By 
Kevin Clark (Ventura, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This is a fine movie that will give you much to think about. That this account is not based on the Gospels is stated openly at the beginning. While most of the events portrayed will be familiar to Bible readers, there is enough "extra" material to make this Jesus purely a work of fiction. Certainly this would be a tough to swallow for a post-rationalist world, and its Christians. By that I mean that drawing symbolism out of "canonically accepted" symbolism may a)seem like a waste of time, or b) be downright blasphemous. Without going on and on (like some) though, the film will likely be compelling and time well spent for those whose minds can have it both ways.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars decide for yourself, May 2 2004
By 
"devedag" (yonkers, new york United States) - See all my reviews
I will never understand why some people feel that they have the right to critique a movie they have never seen. If you have a thirst for knowledge than maybe you should expose yourself to a view outside of the one the christian church offers. If your faith is strong than this movie will not affect you. Everyone is entiled to their own taste and opinions, but don't let the opinion of others influence you. Those who believe in God know that God gave us free will so that we could choose for ourselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More on The Last Temptation of Christ, March 10 2004
By 
Tartinka (Menlo Park, CA United States) - See all my reviews
For those reviewers who are wondering why Harvey Keitel had to sound so New York in this film, treat yourselves to the Criterion Collection DVD, which includes a lot of really interesting background information on the making of the movie. The commentary section makes it clear why Martin Scorsese wanted Harvey and others of the actors to speak in this way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It has been "Accomplished"? Indeed it has, March 8 2004
By 
R. Malczynski "Glenn Brody" (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
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Religious zealots and "bible thumpers" can no longer accept ANY film whatsoever of the nature of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Until most recently with Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ", it was practically a sin to do a movie on the life of the Christian leader. No movie was released that has the best intentions toward the audience it was aimed towards. Yes, there's movies like "Jesus Christ Superstar" and such that don't nescessarly give the whole story, rather than to entertain the audience. And then there's "The Last Temptation of Christ", Martin Scorcese's brilliant attempt to not nescessarly give the word of God and the story of Jesus, but rather an alternative view on the whole perspective. Rather than based on the actual Bible scriptures, it's based on the controversial fiction novel of the same name by Nikos Kazantzakis. I found it more close to that novel than the bible itself. Controversial in it's own way.
Essentially, the story (or atleast most of it) is somewhat relavent to the eerie short story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce. In the beginning (and no, there was no light), the movie starts out with Jesus (Willem Dafoe's somewhat original performance) and his remainding days on Earth before crucifixion. He is somewhat tormented by the his duties as a Jewish carpenter, making the crosses for the Romans to use for prisoners. In what is a pretty vivid and good perception, Jesus is shown being and acting more "human" than the son of God. For one moment, he is shown crying and screaming, begging God for another way out of his death (This was one of the many things that made the film offensive to some christian groups). Eventually, everything goes as clockwork; he is betrayed by Judas (played by Harvey Kietel, who foolishly keeps his New York accent when it takes place in ancient Israel), questioned by Pontius Pilate (strangely, but nicely, played by David Bowie) and finally tortured and humiliated by the Romans and the Jews. While on the cross, he askes "God! Why have you forshaken me?". To which almost immediately, a vision of an "angel", appearing in the form of a little girl, comes to him. She tells him that God doesn't want him to suffer and that he can come down from the cross. Jesus is then convinced that he isn't the savior of mankind. Throughout the last half-hour of the film, Jesus is given the most horrible temptation of all: the choice to become a normal human being. Developing a marrage with Mary Magdalene (a somewhat risque sex scene that caused an uproar of controversy), children and a happy life. However, things start becoming out-of-place. He visits a meeting conducted by the apostle, Saul/Paul (Harry Dean Stanton) who tells Jesus that he betrayed his father and caused all this grief among Israel. Then his deseciples, including Judas, visit him as an old man and tell that he is a coward for getting down off the cross. Can Jesus overcome temptation and return to death? I dunno. Watch and see!
Jesus as a normal man is something to see and view. This is why it go so much attention. What the brilliant Scorsese displays is how temptation is everywhere and we must avoid it, much like the bible says. Most intelligenly is how the film stays away from the already overly typcast Jesus that everybody figures is; brave, strong, our savior, when really he was as human as probably you and me. Towards the end, Jesus begs to be crucified and he learns that the "temptation" was all in his head and that he never left the cross. He then smiles and yells "It has been accomplished!", before expiring. The most errie scene is the final shot in the film, which Scorsese along with the editor claimed was "unintentional" and there's no doubt that it was (as soon as Jesus expires, the film gets inked and light is shown through, ruining the film strip. scary, huh?) Peter Gabriel's music score is nicely brought a mixture of African/Arabic chanting (similar to Hans Zimmer's approach in both "The Thin Red Line" and "Black Hawk Down"). The final song is a little out of place however and sounds more like the beat to a U2 song. Whatever.
I recommend this to any person who is sick and tired of the stereotypical Jesus everyone protrays, and that includes Mel Gibson's "Passion".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great film, May 12 2000
I loved this movie when this movie came out all you heard was do not go see it i decided that i wanted to make up my own mind about the movie this is a must see movie when i left the movies i was so filled with the holy sprit PLEASE IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE PLEASE BUY IT I WISH THAT EVERY ONE COULD WATCH I KNOW THAT EVERY CHANCE I GET I GET SOMEONE NEW TO WATCH SO FAR I AM BATTING 100%
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not from the Gospels, Aug. 12 2002
By 
Jeffrey Leeper "kem2070" (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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In remembering when this movie came out, I wondered if this movie would be too controversial for me to enjoy. As the film started, there were a couple notes that put things into perspective. The first one was from the author of the book on which this movie is based. He basically says that he was intrigued by the dual nature of Christ (being of man and of God). The second note mentions that the movie is not based on the Gospels. This should have taken care of all controversy.
For the most part, I did not have a problem with the movie. Willem Dafoe plays Jesus who is a carpenter who is plagued with voices. He does not see these as a gift, and there is no mention that he is the son of God. Thus begins his journey to discover his true identity. For the most part, this is from events covered in the New Testament. There are some interpretations added to help the flow and to emphasize his human nature. Nothing too bad. He does perform miracles.
In the film, the last temptation takes place during the crucifixion and takes up almost a fifth of the movie. Putting the incidentals aside, he is basically tempted with a regular, happy human life. I don't see this as much of a temptation as a vision, but that could be open to interpretation.
I would recommend seeing this film with the caveat that it is not based solely on the Gospels, but it is based on a work of fiction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If Jesus was in fact a real person, then this is the real story of his humanity, Jan. 2 2012
By 
David Sabine (Canada) - See all my reviews
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I grew up with Christianity in our schools, our communities, our media, our policis, and our household but I was never able to really imagine "the man" that was Jesus of Nazareth. That is, not until I watched this film. If ever there was a man destined to be the sacrifice for all mens' sins, then surely he was tempted to get down off that cross and live a real life.

Willem Dafoe is as must Jesus as Harvey Keitel is Santa Claus. Yet, their performances are brilliant and captivating.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie - Bad DVD, April 18 2010
Just fair warning: this DVD is not enhanced for widescreen TVs so be prepared for window-boxing. Super annoying.

Luckily the movie itself is amazing. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in challenging and cultivating their spirituality.
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The Last Temptation of Christ (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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