Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Son of God --- or chief of sinners?

This is neither condemnation nor praise of "Son of God," a new movie that arrived just in time for lent and finally crept sideways into consciousness when I saw the photo here, which I took at first to be Brad Pitt in a scarf, decked out perhaps as Lawrence of Arabia, a film I actually did see in a theater many years ago.

As it turns out, it's a pretty Portuguese named Diogo Morgado who portrays our Savior as the usual white guy in a film assembled from footage first presented as part of a miniseries, "The Bible," which I missed, too. Does he have a British accent?

I live now in that dark cinematic hole known as Netflix --- when something is available for online streaming I'll think about looking at it in that last hour or two before going to bed. But in that context, I'm praying for new episodes of Inspector Lewis; less so for devotional material.

I looked "Son of God" up on my go-source for all useful information, Wikipedia, and discovered that He/It is, "a 2014 American epic biblical drama feature, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, adapted from the ten-hour miniseries The Bible, which aired in March 2013 on History channel." That struck me as funny since Jesus generally is presented as a bit more than that.

Then I looked at enough reviews to discover that cinema critics generally don't like the film --- based upon acting and production techniques plus its derivative nature --- but the faithful generally do, as good Sunday school material.

Some protestants are mildly distressed because the devil doesn't get his due (he had to be cut because the actor who portrayed Old Scratch in The Bible looked too much like Barack Obama) and Mary Magdalene gets too much attention. Some Catholics are mildly pleased because the film gives Peter his due as chief apostle and Mary the Mother is featured extensively --- as one would expect, since Roma Downey portrays her.

I'm a big fan of Matthew Paul Turner, so for the time being I'll stick with his review, which you can read in full here. Here's a little of it:

Whether or not Christ’s story can survive Son of God and Roma Downey remains to be seen. Few things cause the story of Jesus to fall short of God’s glory like a factual cinematic portrayal acted out by pretty Caucasians with British accents and bed-head walking joyfully across barren landscapes to a dramatic symphony of flutes and strings. At times, I swear I was watching the cast of Downton Abbey on vacation in Morocco. Among the long list of Christ-centric films that have been made in the last fifty years, Son of God—with its sexy Jesus who engages in cheesy “change the world” dialogue and seems to channel Harry Potter every time he performs a miracle—might end up being the chief of sinners.

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