The Last Temptation of Christ

April 18, 2010
By TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
177 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To be great is to be misunderstood" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some films have dealt with Christ's ministry, or His death, but few have ever been made that actually look into the Messiah's life on Earth. This film, directed by the great Martin Scorsese and adapted from the novel of the same name, looks into the life of Christ, but in a way that isn't normally explored by the Christian or secular world. It's said that Christ was fully God and fully man, so doesn't that mean that Christ was tempted just as any other man was tempted? 'Lest controversy arise, let it be known that this film doesn't claim to be the definitive truth of Jesus' life, instead the film is a fictional tale that allows the individual to contemplate the nature of Christ and the viewer's relationship, or lack thereof, with Him.

The film follows, as the title suggests, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Son of God and prophesied Messiah of the old prophets. We follow Jesus from the beginning of his ministry to his crucifixion, but not without seeing the Savior tempted as a man. For the film claims that if Jesus was fully man and fully God, then he went through the same temptations that every man went through - fear, doubt, depression, reluctance, rage, lust, and the rest. Never does Jesus give into these temptations, but we often see through this film how difficult it was for Him to experience these things.

The film's not 100% accurate, but again, this is done because the film's a fictional piece that is meant for contemplation, rather than for following the Gospels word-for-word. In terms of character and performances, I really appreciated and enjoyed what the film had done. It brought up interesting questions and the actors portraying these people gave great performances, especially Willem Dafoe as Jesus. None of these actors give any shame to the people they portray, as each person is played with a sense of respect and intellect. For those familiar with the Bible, you'll find that, other than the film's main point of contemplation, the film is generally faithful to the original Word.

Moving on, though, the visuals and soundtrack nicely fit together with the rest of the film. The sharp camera turns, the enchanting melodies of the film's main score - it's well-organized into this great set of work that compliments a film as philosophically contemplative as this. It's definitely something to be experienced, as the film's very nice to look at with its interesting use of lenses, lighting, etc. Also, the music, as I said before, is really quite enchanting. It's melodic, soft, and the perfect music to use in a film like this.

As I've stated plenty of times in this article, The Last temptation of Christ isn't what I'd call an entertaining movie, though it is very enjoyable from start to finish. No, instead, this film is more about thought and spiritual examination - rather than about matters such as character study or other topics you'd expect to see in film. It's something completely different, which may be why some people may not like the film, but it breaks new ground in a way that isn't seen very often nowadays. Scorsese deserves major kudos for making this film, as one can't possibly imagine the stress and controversy he must have gone through. Being a Catholic himself, one also doesn't have to worry about Scorsese turning this film into some bland anti-religion film, which has been done countless times before already.

If I have one complaint with the film, it's that the controversial "last temptation" in the film sort of missed the mark for me. It's the strongest temptation in the film, and the message behind it will definitely get one thinking, but I thought it kind of dragged out a bit. It's a 30 - 40 minute sequence, yet it easily could have been trimmed down to a fair time of, say, 15 - 20 minutes - if that long at all.Still, the scene works with what's done right.

The Last Temptation of Christ isn't what I'd call a normal film. It's not about character development or story, but it's instead a powerful and striking film that requires spiritual contemplation - something you definitely don't see everyday. This is a film for thinkers and intellectuals, and it's that audience that will get the most satisfaction out of the film. Whether or not you agree with what's brought up, though, is an entirely different matter.

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