Saturday, April 21, 2007

Reviewing John

A few years ago we saw The Gospel of John at the theater -- which was packed, incidentally -- and were extremely impressed by it. I posted reviews on some boards I frequented at that time and on Usenet, but somehow it slipped my mind to post a comment on

So I did so tonight:

My Favorite Jesus Film
As something of a Jesus movie junkie I have to say that The Gospel of John is my favorite of them all. Yes, I even like it better than The Passion. It is long, so first you have to adjust to the fact that this is meant to dramatize an entire Gospel. Once you've accepted that, the greatness of this movie dawns on you.

The production values are first rate. The sets, the clothes, the effects are accurate and extremely well done, even down to the threads in the fabrics. There are several miracles, but the one that truly stands out for me is Christ walking on water. This is far and away the best dramatization of that legendary moment, ever.

There are long discourses by Jesus, apparently because that's how St. John recalled him speaking. The director handles these marvelously well -- they are not just talking heads. The fact that they use the conversational Good News Bible for the script keeps you from being overwhelmed by waves and waves of 'bible talk.' But what really makes it work is the unbelievable acting of Henry Ian Cusick. Let me put it this way: Have you ever watched a movie about Christ and secretly wondered why anybody would have followed him, since he's usually played so stiff and formal? Not here. Cusick's Jesus is smart, quick, bold, and charismatic. I would've followed that Jesus anywhere! Christopher Plummer's narration is just right too and ties everything together.

The DVD has a lot of extra information about the meticulous study that went into making this film, and the truly gifted way the Director, Philip Saville, brought this Gospel to life.


Anonymous said...

This is great info to know.

Pleonic said...

I hope you get a chance to see it. It's a marvelous film!