From the producers behind the Bible miniseries, comes Son of God, an adaptation of the bible, focusing on the life of Jesus. It’s beautiful and certainly moving. Though it lacks the polish expected of a big screen production, it’s very big tale more than makes up for it. Glossing over many of the more supernatural details and miracles, Son of God chooses instead to focus on the political machinations that paved the way to the crucifixion.
John (Sebastian Knapp) plays the part of narrator, opening with a line from the book of John, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God". A quick montage of the Old Testament follows, highlighting the big moments: the garden of Eden, David and Goliath, Moses, Noah, and culminates with the birth of Jesus and Jesus (Diogo Morgado) bringing together his Apostles.
Peter (Darwin Shaw) is the only Apostle that any time is spent on as Jesus speaks to him in his metaphors, and shows him the power of belief. The remaining Apostles are gathered without much fan fare, and some of the more well known moments in the life of Jesus are touched upon: Jesus teaching the Beatitudes, walking on the water, the feeding of the multitude, and raising Lazarus from the dead.
As Jesus multiplies his followers, jealousy and misconceptions are fostered. His assurances of a better life are twisted into thoughts that he’ll lead a Jewish uprising against the Pontius Pilate (Greg Hicks), never minding that his message is that of Peace. Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey has a dark foreboding tone as the Roman Militants look on and the high priest Caiaphas (Adrian Schiller) plot against him.
The Last Supper and His betrayal by Judas (Joe Wredden) are played with careful detail, setting up the pivotal piece to the final act. Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and his capture to the crucifixion are unforgettable reminders of His suffering and sacrifice for mankind, and some of the hardest scenes to watch. The reluctant release of Pharisee best showcases the Roman’s loathing of Jesus’ sentence. Pontius Pilate no more wants the man killed, than he wants to fail before his Caesar, there are high stakes for all involved. Most of the blame falls upon Caiaphas head, who fears the power of Jesus more than he does the Romans, but he claims to be doing this for the people. The walk leading up to crucifixion is almost unbearable as more suffrage is inflicted upon Jesus on his march, but bears it with no ill will, never once putting up a fight, but accepting his fate. While the violence is certainly present, it doesn’t feel overly gratuitous. There is blood but it doesn’t cross the line into gore. The crucifixion brought tears to the eyes of nearly every person in the room. Of course no story of the Son of God would be complete without His resurrection, and it is done in high fashion.
Diogo Morgado, portrayed a very relatable Jesus. He was equal parts charismatic, and accessible; showing both strength and vulnerability to doubt and fear. Darwin Shaw’s Peter wonderfully depicted his struggle with complete faith.
While the film reached for the scale of an action epic; the editing made it feel made for the small screen. The movie does not follow the Bible word for word, but is more of a cliff notes version. It is sure to open up discussions, and rereading of the source material. One big omission from the story is that of Satan, even in the garden there is no mention or depiction of him. Perhaps this was after all the kerfuffle sparked during The Bible miniseries, but it doesn’t make the overall story feel any less powerful.
The performances were inspiring, the locales exotic, even the special effects were good but it was the rich orchestral score that stood out. Done by Oscar winner Hans Zimmer they inspired, and tugged at the heart strings. The music was utterly captivating, intensifying the emotions as good music should. Even Cee-Lo Green’s song Mary Did You Know was both beautiful and moving playing during the movie end credits while scenes both in the movie, and not played.
It’s been ten years since The Passion of the Christ, a major motion picture about Jesus' life was released, but the Son of God was certainly worth the wait. Son of God arrives in theaters February 28, 2014
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