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The Last Temptation of Christ (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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I think anyone who purchases this DVD edition of the film should definitely go back and listen to the director/actor/screenwriter commentary included with the film. In it, Marty and the screenwriter explain why they used the actors they did, and why they used today's vernacular. They had the characters speak this way so that the viewer is more aware that the players in the New Testament WERE human, just like us. Marty believed that the stilted English of the King James Court, with its "thou's" and "ye's" (and having absolutely NO relation to the way people spoke at the time) serves to distance modern viewers from the pain and doubt that both Jesus has his followers underwent.
Marty also was desperate to counter the prevalent depiction of Jesus in film that has him 100% "divine", with a golden light shining behind his head, with the divine little smile and the gentle words. He wanted to use the idea in the Bible that Jesus was also fully human, subject to both physical AND mental anguish. The latter is the point that Gibson missed in his film. Anyone who has ever lost a child or had to make an agonizing decision knows that mental anguish can be as painful as any physical torment. This movie is about the true temptation Jesus underwent, to deny God and run away from his destiny. All of us can identify with that.
I find this Jesus far more compelling than the Jesus I grew up with in Sunday school. This Jesus is not perfect. He hurts and has soubts and depressions like I do. And yet he gives his body and mind to God in the end.
Having received 12 years of Catholic school education, culminating when this film was released, I was amused to read the incredible outpouring of emotions by narrow-minded Christians against this film, both at the time is was released and in the reviews. To me, a sure-fire sign of narrow-mindedness is their utter inability to appreciate art for what it is and the fact (evident from their reviews) that they have not even seen the movie. My faith was not so weak as to refuse to entertain artistic explorations and alternative viewpoints.
Although not wholly based on the scriptures, the theme of this film IS based more upon the very nature of Jesus Christ himself. That is, the film and the book both attempt to dramatically explore the contradictions associated with the dual identity of Jesus as both God and man - a schitzophrenic combination indeed.
In this film, Jesus as man resists God's call, at age 30, to take up his role as spiritual savior. Jesus-as-man IS tempted by his own thoughts and doubts (manifested by Satan), the last temptation occuring in a stupor as he hangs dying on the cross - the opportunity of becoming all man. This post-death illusion sequence, where Jesus goes on to marry Mary Magdeline and see the dire consequences of such a course of action, covers the last 3rd or so of the film.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Full disclosure: I am an atheist, and there will be spoilers ahead, because it's really hard to explain why I love tgis without discussing the end. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Blue102
Was very controversial when it 1st appeared....but it is this that made me even more interested in this movie. Read morePublished 15 days ago by lmhgranny2011
Very true to the Gospels and shows Saul/Paul for the opportunist and fraud he was. A movie that would definitely upset the religious right since they follow Paul's teachings more... Read morePublished 2 months ago by pancdca
I've seen it many years ago and wanted to see it again for primarily one reason, the part of his (Jesus') contemplation as to what his world would have been like, had he not... Read morePublished 2 months ago by SwissPete
Just like what I've read from an other review, there's a plethora of narrow-minded people over here.Published 2 months ago by ViVi
My reaction to the Last Temptation of Christ is tepid compared to other reviewers. I will only comment on the acting and the vibe and nothing regarding religion. Read morePublished 4 months ago by rbrogan3
I've never really looked that much into the last hours of Christ, aside from what Scripture Details. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Steven M. Walker