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- Son of God (2014) reviewed by Michael Kuo
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Son of God (2014)
Cast: Diogo Morgado, Roma Downey, Leila Mimmack, Joe Coen, Amber Rose Revah, Darwin Shaw, Sebastian Knapp, Said Bey, Matthew Gravelle, Joe Wredden
Director: Christopher Spencer
Synopsis: Based on the Gospel of John, the film explores the life of Jesus Christ beginning with his birth and ending with his resurrection and ascension.
Reviewer’s rating: 1/5
Son of God begins with the apostle John (portrayed by Sebastian Knapp) as an aged exile who is beginning to write his gospel. John calls himself one of Jesus’ followers, saying, “After what I saw, how could I not be?” The movie then proceeds to highlight key events of Jesus’ life (played by Diogo Morgado), such as his birth, his calling of Peter (Darwin Shaw), the establishment of his authority to forgive sins, and ultimately his death at the hands of a hesitant Pontius Pilate (Greg Hicks). It is meant to follow the narrative of John’s gospel, but it also incorporates events that are not found in the fourth gospel, such as Jesus declaring in his hometown of Nazareth that he is the fulfillment of Isaiah 61, which is found in Luke, or the healing of the paralyzed man who is lowered through the roof of the house (Mark 2). The conflict of the movie is set up through a three-way tension between the Jewish high priest Caiaphas (Adrian Schiller), the newly-established Pilate, and an upstart miracle worker from Galilee who threatens to annihilate the peaceful order established between Israel and Rome (Jesus). After the Jews arrest Jesus and convict him of blasphemy, he is then taken to Pilate and questioned. Pilate becomes convinced that Jesus is guilty of nothing more than being delusional, but in order to satisfy the Jews and keep the peace he orders Jesus killed. However, this is not the end, as Jesus comes back from the dead and commands his disciples to preach good news of his return.
There is a powerful image of Jesus kissing the cross, and he tells Peter at one point, “Give me one hour, and I will give you a new life.” However, they retell the text of a gospel that does not exist. Professing Christians should be careful to distinguish between the text and the event to which the text testifies. For example, the event of Jesus dying on the cross shows a Jewish miracle-worker who was being killed for threatening to upend the Roman rule over Israel. However, when we read the text of John’s Gospel, we see the Word who came to a world that he created, but its people rejected him. It is the difference between seeing just one of countless crucifixions and seeing the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the very people that killed him.
The Son of God is an acceptable introduction to the story of Jesus, but for a Christian it is another disappointing depiction of a constantly-smiling and gentle Jesus, one whom the Gospels do not necessarily depict. Despite a powerful musical score by award-winning composer Hans Zimmer, the rest of the movie is yet another failed attempt to boil down the ministry of Jesus into two hours by telling a story that none of the gospel writers either told or wanted to tell.
By: Michael Kuo