REVIEWED
4/20/03

STORY



LOOK

The Last Temptation of Christ
Director: Martin Scorsese
Year: 1988
TRT: 2:43


Yeah, there was a lot of controversy over this film when it first hit the theaters, apparently by a bunch of fuck-nuts that never even watched it. Isn't this the whole purpose of the life of Christ, that he was both the son of God and a mortal man? Willem Dafoe does a fantastic job of portraying this without becoming too, well, preachy. Scorsese sets up the first and last act well, but the middle is a bit too much like straight out of Sunday school, I think. It's good to see how Jesus takes the path, but there's a lot of gaps, I would think, if you're not too familiar with the, er, story. A lot of people have a good idea, so the viewer tends to fill in a lot of the blanks. This isn't too terrible in all rights, but it makes for kind of a bumpy ride.

One thing that can't be denied is the fantastic score that Peter Gabriel did for the film. Pick up the Passion CD if you can. It almost makes up for the red-headed Judas done well by Harvey Keitel, if it weren't for his obvious New York roots. Jesus! Er, I mean, Kee-rist! I know Scorsese and him have a long history, and Keitel is a great actor, but it really stretches the limits of plausibility in listening to Judas without wondering when he's gonna start cursing and shoot someone with a revolver he has hidden somewhere in his robes. That's a bit harsh, but well, sometimes it's hard to escape the long shadow of being a Bad Lieutenant.

Despite the negatives, this is a pretty decent look at the hardships that Jesus had to go through, ultimately knowing what his fate was going to be. It also is shot beautifully.

DVD Notes: Top-notch Criterion Collection put out by Universal that includes commentary by Scorses, DaFoe, and some others, extensive production & location info, and an interview with Peter Gabriel that includes a gallery of instruments used to make the score.