Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Last Temptation of Christ

A rage and incertitude plague a very mortal Jesus (Willem Dafoe, ideally cast) as he is challenged by a browbeating Judas (Harvey Keitel) and wrestles with the dilemma of His father's calling, especially during His final hours on the cross, when He is tempted with visions of a life of domestic bliss with Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey). Adapted from the inflammatory Nikos Kazantzakis novel by the director's oft-collaborator Paul Schrader, The Last Temptation of Christ was a longtime passion project for Martin Scorsese and one met with no less of a swell of controversy. Seen now, twenty five years after its release, it is difficult to understand these contentions in a film made with the utmost respect and reverence which asks difficult questions and presents a savior who resists when confronted with the ultimate temptation and also offers a highly accessible portrait of Jesus' human side.