Son of God: Movie Review
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Ten years ago, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ astounded audiences and Hollywood alike with its heart-wrenching and engaging portrayal of Jesus' crucifixion, death and resurrection. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, executive producers of The Bible miniseries, seek to revive that passion through their new theatrical release, Son of God.
Rated PG-13, Son of God will be a little easier for parents to watch with their teenagers than its predecessor (which had an R rating for graphic violence). Though caution is advised, it's true to say that these filmmakers have told the ‘greatest story' honoring its deepest message – that God so loved the world that He gave His only son.
THE MOVIE IN A MINUTE
Born of a virgin, Jesus was no ordinary man. His ministry revealed that and garnered him, beginning with Peter. With twelve gathered, Jesus travels the Galilean hill country sharing with anyone who would hear His message from God. Thousands flock to watch as he performs miracles, making a lame man walk and a dead man rise. With Passover approaching, Jesus and his disciples make way for Jerusalem. His presence and teachings are feared by the Jewish authority and their pleas for his execution are eventually granted by Pontius Pilate, the ruthless Roman governor. Jesus' death on the cross was thought to be the end of their revolution, but it was only the beginning.
THE GOOD AND BAD IN SON OF GOD
Son of God's beginning and ending narration by the Apostle John pulls moviegoers into the experience. Unlike Passion of the Christ, Son of God tells the whole story and consequently shows the developed relationships between Jesus and his most loyal followers.
What happened at Jesus' moment in history wasn't forgotten a week later (as predicted by Pilate in the film). On the contrary, Jesus' power to transforms lives continues even now because, as we are reminded in the film, his message of hope, grace, forgiveness and unconditional love lives on through our testimony. Christians, in this country and across the nations, will be uplifted seeing this sacrificial love story unfold on movie screens once again.
A stunning score composed by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe, and sung by Lisa Gerrard (Gladiator), helps to lift the black and red words of the Bible off paper and into our hearts. The cast mightily lead by Diogo Morgado, in the role of Jesus, embodies the spirit of each biblical figure, from the doubts of Thomas to the betrayal of Judas, from the cruelty of Pilate to the fear of Caiaphas.
In terms of its artistic achievement, Son of God is regretfully not quite as captivating as The Passion of the Christ. Though Son of God has some up-close and emotional moments, a good deal of the way the film is shot (from helicopters) puts us on the outside looking in instead of putting us in the fray. It's slow at times, seemingly ticking off the boxes of hitting the high points of Jesus' life instead of letting his story live and breathe to the end and rebirth of it. A few moments seem unfamiliar, but a lot of Son of God is reminiscent of what we saw during The Bible miniseries as it aired last spring on HISTORY. That said, Son of God is done with such a powerful conviction and talented cast and crew that believers will have no qualms about these ‘artistic' concerns.
Rated PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence, Son of God only holds back to a point as its filmmakers endeavor to give us a visual of what happened at Golgotha and in Judea during the Roman occupation.
IN THE END
Son of God is worthy of your time. Its portrayal of our Lord's life, death and resurrection is fulfilling to see.
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