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The time of miracles is once again at hand in the six-hour epic event, Revelations. Bill Pullman (Independence Day) stars as Harvard professor Dr. Richard Massey, an astrophysicist who's certain that all worldly events can be explained by science. He is challenged by Sister Josepha Montafiore (Natascha McElhone, Solaris), a devout nun who leads him on a quest through a world of true believers, heretics and Satanists. Drawn together by personal tragedy, they are swept into a deepening mystery when they discover evidence that the world, as predicted by The Book of Revelations, has reached The End of Days. Join the battle for the fate of mankind in the electrifying phenomenon, Revelations. Time Magazine declares, "It delivers." - James Poniewozik (Time Magazine)
Revelations is a spooky, classy thriller depicting the world as a battleground between satanists and those who adhere to miracles revealing God's divine plan for humanity. Bill Pullman stars as Harvard scientist Bill Massey, whose successful quest to bring his daughter's seemingly demon-possessed serial killer to justice turns him into a well-known debunker of others who claim to speak for the Beastmaster. Problem is, the man who killed Massey's girl appears to be the real thing, endowed with prophetic powers and a second sight that comes in handy when it's time to go after the grieving hero's other child.
Enter Sister Josepha (Natascha McElhone), a miracles investigator whose work is financially supported by a famous billionaire but disowned by the Vatican. Josepha has been led to Massey through a brain-dead girl who, though medically impossible, quotes scripture and has drawn a map to his office. Despite his skepticism, Massey teams with the nun in search of a kidnapped baby who may very well be the Christ-child in His just-in-time-for-Armageddon second coming. Written by David Seltzer (Dragonfly), and directed by occasional Buffy helmer David Semel and Lili Fini Zanuck (Rush), Revelations has an appealing vitality (especially when Massey and Sister Josepha become targets for assassins), a nice Hollywood gloss, and an unsettling air of mystery, as if angels and demons really are duking it out for dominion of the Earth right under our noses. --Tom Keogh
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Based loosely, but definitely not literally, on Biblical prophesies depicting the End of Days, the story, (by David Seltzer) builds steadily from hour to hour until the thrilling and truly terrifying climax -- pitting the ultimate good against the ultimate evil with the future of the entire world hanging in the balance.
The Apocolyptic tale unfolds through the experiences of Dr. Richard Massey, (brilliantly portrayed by Bill Pullman) whose daughter Lucinda, Lucy, was brutally murdered by a satanist in a ritualistic sacrafice to the devil in which he cut out the child's heart while she was alive. (In a VERY wise move, viewers are never shown the murder, but only learn about it and its aftermath.)
The murder, and subsequent arrest of the non-repentent killer Isaiah Haden (portrayed in a chilling performance by Michael Massee) triggers a series of international events that supposedly coincide with the Christian Biblical prophesies describing the ultimate battle between God and Satan. Especially chronicled is the "Second Coming" of Christ, who is believed by Christians to one day to return to earth to vanquish evil forever and literally end the physical world.
While the story is based on a Biblical foreshadowing, the core event depicted in the series is not: the apparent second virgin-birth of Christ. While Biblical theologians have debated End of Days prophesies since they were first translated, there has been little argument among Christians that Christ will not return as an infant born of a second virgin mother. Nonetheless, this fictionalization in "Revelations" does nothing to blunt its force or diminish its entertainment value.
In a country where polls have repeatedly shown that people have more trouble believing in God than in the devil and evil, I found this mini-series especially poignant and even profound.
Presented in a wide-screen format that increases the movie feel to the series, locations around the world were used to provide an authentication seldom found in TV productions. Blessed with a stellar cast of outstanding actors, the series fearlessely depicts its horrifying vision, replete with ever-building satanic-spawned violence and mature religious themes that have seldom, if ever, been depicted on the small screen.
In the series, Dr. Massey is aided by Sister Josepha Montefiore (played with subtle force and compelling humanity by Natashcha McElhone), who is a member of a Catholic group outside the sanction of the Vatican who believe that the Christ child has again been born. Sister Josepha, along with Massey, travel the world in search of the infant, and eventually find his mother, who claims to have been a virgin when he was born.
While the duo look for the baby Christ, Haden amasses an army of santanic followers from among the inmates where he has been imprisoned. Demonstrating truly supernatural powers, Haden eventually escapes and begins an all-out assault on the forces of Heaven.
Dr. Massey's former stepson, Hawk, becomes an unwitting pawn in the cosmic drama when he is kidnapped by Haden's dominion to become the new sacrifice to Satan. Look for a frightingly wonderful performance by Fred Durst, (front man for the band Limp Biscuit) who protrays Ogden, a bloodthrusty satanist who helped kidnap and torture Hawk.
Also providing especially noteworthy performances are Finonnula Flanagan, who plays Mother Francine, a member of Sister Josepha's order, and John Rhys-Davies, who plays Professor Lampley, a colleague of Dr. Massey's.
Flanagan is riviting in her role after she and the others of her order try to protect a young girl who was struck by lightening then miraculously begins prophesizing in ancient languages and foretelling the coming of the End of Days while in a fatal coma.
Eventually, Flanagan's character "releases" the child through a mercy killing (an act seldom depicted on TV) as agents of satan's army attack their complex with murderous force leaving a trail of corpses. The satanists take the child and also cut out her heart (off-camera), but she has already gone to heaven, thanks to Mother Francine's very controversial actions.
Obviously, this is not a movie for the squeamish, but to its credit, the bulk of the violence is merely described; or if depicted, generally performed at the edge of the camera or only the results are shown. Nonetheless, there should be a strong warning as the series does build its violence to a hypnotic timbre by the end.
Somewhat similar to a religious (but much more frightening) Indiana Jones, the series is incredibly spellbinding and may leave viewers not only breathless but perhaps re-evaluating their own religious beliefs and commitments to ensure evil NEVER secures a lasting stronghold that will doom our planet.
It is a pretty good film in the quality of filmmaking (again, this is very much in keeping with the Omen Trilogy), while its theology is VERY MUCH "open for debate" (this is entertainment, not theology), it is a very well crafted flim with an interesting story.
Mr. Saltzer also adapted Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" into the 1971 screenplay for the film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". So not all of his writing is dealing with "Demons" and "Appocolypse"... but all are very touching and crafted stories.
While as a film, I might give this a "5 Star" rating due to the quality of it from a filmmaking and story craft point of view, it lost a couple of stars for the problems with its theology. But I still gave it "3 Stars" because it is a beautiful and uplifting piece of fiction.
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