The Last Temptation of Christ (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

The Last Temptation of Christ (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

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The Last Temptation of Christ (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

The Last Temptation of Christ, by Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull), is a towering achievement. Though it initially engendered enormous controversy, the film can now be viewed as the remarkable, profoundly personal work of faith that it is. This fifteen-year labor of love, an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’s landmark novel that imagines an alternate fate for Jesus Christ, features outstanding performances by Willem Dafoe (Antichrist), Barbara Hershey (Hannah and Her Sisters), Harvey Keitel (Mean

The Last Temptation of Christ (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

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3 thoughts on “The Last Temptation of Christ (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

  1. 42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    All wrong, Part 2, November 5, 1999
    By A Customer

    I stated once before that this film is incorrectly taken. Jesus never sins in this film. So when he dies he is absolutely sinless thus allowing biblical prophecy to be fulfilled. He has not sinned because these events that occur through the film are a TEMPTATION presented as a HALLUCINATION. Satan is tempting Christ to reject the cup he has to bear. Dying for the sins of all is a very serious “cup to bear,” so Satan finds Jesus an easy target. Remember the other part of the prophecy, Jesus must suffer. This is a part of that suffering, making the agonizing decision to die for all. And I refer to “religious zealots” as the ones who automatically killed this film from the beginning instead of seeing it for what it really is, but religious people in general are not “zealots”. I consider myself a religious man. Of course you all are entitled to your opinions as to the actual quality of the film (some said it was boring) but I found it a thoroughly engrossing film, another hit for Scorcese.

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  2. 141 of 170 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    most misunderstood of all modern movies, February 24, 2004
    By 
    S. Baker “sdbaker70” (Phoenix, Arizona United States) –
      

    While the film is not as authentic as the upcoming “The Passion of the Christ” (where Aramaic is used), it was much more realistic and gritty than previous film portrayals. What really adds to the drama of the film is the soundtrack by Peter Gabriel.

    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.

    SPOILERS AHEAD:

    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. What is most interesting is the confrontation between Jesus and Paul, the latter of whom is the most signficant evangelical Christian of all time – which turns out to be an express of the argument that the idea of Jesus Christ as savior may have been more important (at least politically) that the historical facts. In any case, for those who find this sequence blasphemous, they need to remember that it is a DREAM. (e.g., The crowds are still cheering at the cross as he is taken down by a lovely little girl.) In the end, Jesus triumphs over the evil of human frailty to assume his position in Christian beliefs.

    Other interesting factors include the expanded role of Judas (played here by Harvey Kietel), as Jesus’ true right-hand man. In an interesting twist, Judas is at least as interested in political revolution as a spiritual one, and Jesus manipulates Judas’ anger and convinces him to turn Jesus in for persecution.

    In any case, I give it a firm thumbs up. Too bad that this is too expensive for any casual observer to pick it up on DVD, though.

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  3. 101 of 111 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Listen to the commentary – much revealed, May 28, 2004
    By 
    John A Morris (Lompoc, CA United States) –

    First of all, this area is SUPPOSED to be for reviews of this movie, not dire warnings of damnation if one watches it. It is JUST a movie….something tells me Jesus and his believers can survive it. Please don’t turn this forum into a religious debate.

    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.

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