15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2011
I am a Christian who also likes movies outside the purview of the Bible, but still based on good probability. If you want perfect realism, you are not going to get it in hollywood. I think many folks thought they were going to get another Da Vinci Code out of this movie; and don't understand Christian underpinnings at all.
Rather interestingly, I have studied some of the historians who were not Biblical from this event, and they do in fact write of the sun turning dark, and earthquakes occurring. One of them Africanus, even tore down the historical rumor that the darkness was caused by an eclipse, and even posed the scientific evidence that this could not be true. However the fact that the darkness was reported over a large part of the Roman/Greco world, and did happen, was not disputed.
The Romans were pretty sophisticated, and even had machines that helped determine the epicenter of earthquakes. It is very probable that certain inquiry was made into any thing that may have displeased the "gods" in Roman culture. They would not have discovered the Crucifixion incident until someone could travel to the area near the epicenter to find any event that fit their concept of an earth shattering event of human origin. They would have been looking for anything that hit the political radar down there to make a correlation. Only upon arrival would they make the connection to Christ's conviction and execution.
Tiberius was not your regular dictator, he actually despised Rome and preferred to rule from his villa near the shore, and even set out on a boat once during a political scuffle in Rome. A prefect of the area in Germania, he would have had many friends in the army up there, so his ties to the investigator make sense for a story line. With his tendency toward thought instead of conquest and politic, I can imagine a man that would have been curious about anything as odious as natural signs of wrath of the gods.
Many of the "facts" brought up in the investigation were written at least 3 hundred years later in the apocrypha 'Acts of Pilate' which are understood by almost all scholars as simple popular whimsical writings of faith disseminated by writers just trying to put out a good story. However, I'm sure they had at least a tinge of fact based on old traditions in the Church of the first centuries AD. Historical data retrieved in 1961 led to information that Pilate probably committed suicide in Gaul, as his fortunes turned for the worse in Caligula's rule. Besides, he probably didn't get much credit once the Romans had to burn Jerusalem to the ground and kill almost every Jew in sight. Failed rulers are not favored in Rome.
I found the movie stimulating, and immediately began scurrying about to find if any of the characters were factual names of history, and could be researched to verify that they actually lived at the same time. Just verifying that was amazing, as the video industry rarely bothers themselves with any thing of an "investigative" nature. In fact the name of the movie is a contradiction to most anything of documentary flavor in the TV & Movie industry.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
'The Final Inquiry" is an Italian film that was made in English, but got dubbed over again [to cover the accents I presume] and is set during the Roman Empire, circa 33 AD. A series of earthquakes on a particular day that is felt around the world sets the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar [Max Von Sydow] to command one of his tribunes Titus Valerius Taurus [Daniel Loggia] to go to Jerusalem, where the Emperor believes the crucifixion of a certain Jesus from the province of Judea and the resurrection rumors surrounding him is reponsible for the events.
Tribune Titus goes off to Jerusalem with a slave captured in fighting, a germanic warrior Brixas [Dolph Lundgren] and they encounter a group of people called the Nazarenes, who carry on the teachings of Jesus, in spite of persecution. They also meet Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who finds Titus' inquiry into the whereabouts of Jesus' body a threat to his authority.
Besides the search for answers as to how Jesus died, and what happened to his body afterwards, and the greater question of whether he was truly resurrected [Pilate and the Pharisees go to great lengths to try and disprove the resurrection theory], the other main plot centers around the romance that develops between Titus and a Nazarene, Tabitha and their love story holds the film together. Their chemistry is palbable [yes, its a Biblical story, yet the interplay of dialogue and emotion between these two is credibly done]. Titus finds himself drawn, despite his skepticism, to the noble manner in which the Nazarenes carry themselves, and a tragedy followed by a miracle causes him to question his own lack of faith.
Though this is not "The Greatest Story Ever Told", it is a decently-made Biblical movie. The sets are quite convincing [I think the movie itself was shot in Tunisia] and the acting, though far from great, is credible. Dolph Lundgren as the slave warrior is quite convincing in his role, and the actors portraying Titus and Tabitha are credible too, as is the actor playing Pontius Pilate [who also portrayed pilate in The Passion of Christ]. For a hammy performance, look out for the actor portraying Caligula.
Final verdict - a pleasantly watchable Biblical movie, but if your expectations are high, you may want to skip this one.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2008
I saw this on TBN a few nights ago, and found it exceeded my expectations. As a lawyer, I was drawn to it partially because of how it presented the truth or falsity of Jesus' Resurrection from the dead more or less as a type of "grand jury" inquiry, which, I believe, was exactly why the movie was named as it was. No grand miracles were provided, except for one healing toward the end of the picture, which serves to heal the protagonist's love interest, and, in so doing, show that the skeptic's usual denials that Jesus rose from death to life again are false. God can and does provide true life after death.
As for the "inquiry" which follows, regarding the resurrection: first, the movie showed a scene where supposed disciples "stole" His body and tried to carry it away to re-bury it, thereby leading to the story that He didn't rise again, and everything that led from it thereafter was a lie. But, Titus finds that the supposed Christ body was not His; instead, the wounds supposedly made upon crucifixion were done after death. Also,the supposed 'disciples' he slew in finding the body were hired gladiators, obviously in the employ of Pilate. Next, they show, by "re-enacting" the raising of Lazarus via an unexpecting Titus, who was the one drugged, how a person can be drugged to simulate death and then awaken after several days. It is argued that both the raising of Lazarus and Christ's resurrection would then be no more than magical "tricks" to fool the populace into belief in Jesus. Titus believes that, until he finds out that a miracle CAN happen, but that takes place later. Third, they show that the Romans who were present at Jesus' death could and were pressured into falsely saying that He didn't die on Good Friday, so as to lead to the drugged-state-of-false-death version. But, Longinus, who was the Centurion in charge at the crucifixion, while being pressured by Pilate, maintains to Titus that he, himself, knew Jesus was dead before he threw his lance into Jesus' side. Each possibility is then shown to be false. So, no one could have drugged Jesus, and any disappearance of His body would then have to be either by stealing it or by His Resurrection. Finally, after first believing in the "drugging theory", Titus finds that miracles can and do happen when God, in the person of Peter the Apostle, intervenes and restores Titus' love interest to life after she, who had suffered an apparent head injury and died. Titus then concludes that the ancient Roman gods and goddesses are creations of man, and the God of Jesus is real, and that peace and love are the best ways to live. He recommends that Tiberius place his faith in Jesus' Resurrection, and leaves his post as a Roman officer to live with his lady-love. Although Caligula, who kills Tiberius, sends orders for Titus' assassination, boy gets girl, and both live happily(we hope) ever after.
So much for the plot line. But there are other good things to mention. Another good feature of this movie was a view of Jesus' antagonists i.e., the persons who didn't want to let Jesus' Resurrection to become known and how they would have been acting after His supposed Resurrection. The Sanhedrin, i.e., the Jewish hierarchy, among whom was a person then known as "Saul of Tarsus"(later to become a great Christian apostle known as Paul), was at that time acting to suppress the early Christians, intervened when they learned that Rome had sent a fact-finder to Jerusalem and tried their best, with Pilate's cooperation, to make Titus see that the whole story about the Resurrection had been made up by the disciples. They were very active in trying to stamp out the Christian cult before it grew, and so when a disciple(Saint Stephen, "the first martyr") was caught, he was stoned to death. Meanwhile, Pilate, the Roman Procurator, didn't want Rome to meddle in his affairs, and also tried to either kill Titus or convince him that the whole story of Jesus' rising was false, invented by the disciples.
I found the acting credible. I wasn't looking for an Academy Award type performance in this picture, as the purpose was obvious at the outset, i.e., to provide uplifting faith-based fare for Christians and to provide a first hand look at how any real official inquiry may have been conducted, with all the Biblical characters present, had any inquiry been ordered. The outcome, i.e., that Tiberius would order the Empire to become Christian, was, in my mind,unbelievable. The historical Tiberius wasn't the man protrayed in the movie, looking for life after death. Also, it seems too improbably that Tiberius would ever simply rely upon the report of one man, who had become romantically and personally involved, and then change the entire Classical god and goddess system that the Empire had been using and re-distribute the property of all the Empire, and destroy the slave-and-master system of owning persons to do the manual labor of the Empire, then in existence. So, Caligula, in life a cruel and insane man, fills the role in this movie of restoring us to the history we know, by killing Tiberius(borrowing, possibly, from the killing of Marcus Aurelius by his son, Commodus, in Gladiator?). The romance was done well, although I thought there was not enough time to develop the romance well enough especially since the two lovers were so different, and her contract marriage was not dealt with in a believable way. Nevertheless, the two actors were good looking, and did their lines and scenes believably, and we know that Cupid's arrow can shoot at anyone, ergo, why not a Roman Tribune and a Hebrew upper-class Teenager?
So, for believers, it was a good two hour view; for nonbelievers, it was probably a waste of time, but it wasn't aimed toward nonbelievers anyway. I'd watch it again, and my wife also likes it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2008
This movie has a different take on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The emperor Tiberius Caesar dispatches a tribune, Titus Valierius Tauros (Daniele Liotti) to investigate the possibility of Jesus' resurrection. During his investigation, he crosses paths with the major characters in the Gospels and Acts and concludes the resurrection did in fact happen. Several well known (at least to me) actors appear in the movie: Max Von Sydow, F. Murray Abraham, and Dolph Lundgren.
I would have enjoyed a bit more CSI flavor in Tauros' investigation, turning it more into an entertaining way to present information like Frank Morrison's Who Moved the Stone? Perhaps an intellectual companion along the lines of William of Baskerville in The Name of the Rose or Edith Pargeter's Brother Cadfael would drive the investigation forward not only through a 1st century version of a forensic investigation but also through the interaction between a Roman man of action and a 1st century man of thought similar to the interaction between Jack Aubrey and Dr. Maturin in Master and Commander.
The ending left me a bit cold. Tiberius, upon receiving Tauros' report, resolves to prevail on the Senate to move to stop persecution of the Christians. However, his son, Caligula, realizing that could undermine the ideology of the emperor's divinity, assassinates Tiberius and has Tauros' report burned.
A more interesting ending could have shown Tiberius contemplating the implications of Tauros' report, deciding it wasn't in the best interests of the empire, and then being killed by his son. That would have produced a more ironic comment on the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man.
However, do watch the movie. It's clean entertainment and represents another step forward in creating Christian-themed entertainment with good production values.