Dramas, Religion, Good Vs. Evil, Evangelism, Social Issues, Recommended, Surreal, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema
Last Temptation of Christ Criterion Collection Blu-ray Disc Description
This striking vision from the mind of director Martin Scorsese offers an allegorical interpretation of the last days of Jesus Christ, based on the book by Nikos Kazantzakis. Based strictly on Kazantzakis's book, the film has a very different focus than past portraits of the "Messiah." This Jesus (Willem Defoe) is a man wracked with doubt over his position among his followers and fear of the role God has chosen for him, as well as the pain that must accompany it. He is unsure whether the messages he receives come from God or Satan, and he is tempted by a mortal life filled with earthly possessions and sensual love, resulting in a controversial, though genuinely sympathetic, account of Christianity's most revered figure.
Scorsese establishes a dreamlike mood by combining Michael Ballhaus's photography with a transcendent soundtrack by Peter Gabriel in order to fully explore the idea that perhaps Jesus was both God and man. Rather than train his assembled cast to deliver their lines in historically accurate dialects, Scorsese lets each individual speak with their true accent, which makes for an initially jarring, yet eventually moving, experience. In addition to Defoe, Barbara Hershey, David Bowie, and Harvey Keitel all deliver sincere performances that fulfill Scorsese's vision even more completely.
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