Director: Garth Davis
I enjoyed this film released just in time for Easter.
It is a British Australian co-production directed by Garth Davis who made a name for himself with his first movie the highly successful Lion. It stars the elegant and beautiful Rooney Mara as Mary, a dusty dishevelled intense Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus, a strapping Chiwetel Ejiofor as a strapping general like Peter and Algerian actor Tahar Rahim , as a baby faced somewhat naive Judas. Everyone else is fairly peripheral.
MM’s place in life of Jesus has been subject to debate for centuries. From a reformed prostitute as characterised by Pope Gregory in the 16th century and characterised as such from that time on the the alternative view as the 13 th disciple.
This movie focus seeing events through MM’s eyes and clearly positions here as one for whom Jesus holds most affection and she is clearly devoted/ besotted with Jesus. Mary encourages Jesus to talk more to women and address their oppressed situation and at times she interprets his words and actions differently to the 12 disciples. This, of course, rankles especially as they were reluctant to have them join them in the first place. the take on Judas and his motivations is different to the “30 pieces of silver” typically ascribed to him. It’s a slow movie and then whole periods are missed. For example, she is seen to sleep through the entire business with Pilate as next thing we know he is hauling the cross down the road.
The film is beautifully shot in harsh rugged landscapes in Southern Italy and the soundtrack is wonderful. This was the last score of Johann Johannson who died this year, on my birthday offputtingly.
It’s not a popularisation meant to proselytise but is also not a distortion like Last Temptation Of Christ or the blood and guts of Mel Gibson’s movie. Critics have said the line taken by this movie is implausible but I didn’t find it so. What was implausible was how Mary Magdalene kept her clothes and hair so clean while Jesus was so unkempt !
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
Gosh, I dunno but probably wont appeal to you if you have no time for religion in general or Christianity in particular