The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988)


Based upon the novel of the same name, The Last Temptation of Christ provoked a lot of righteous indignation and protest upon its release, although if you look at the film objectively it is actually quite reverential in its treatment of Jesus Christ and his life.

The reinterpretation sees Christ as a man tortured by the conflict between his flesh and blood desires and fears and his need to overcome them for the sake of spirituality, set within an authentic context. Willem Dafoe’s performance makes him a much more believable and “human” Christ who comes across as a kind of social revolutionary and the protestations were no doubt on behalf of the kind of rich religious organisations and televangelists that are the modern equivalent of the temple priests against whom Christ was protesting. As an atheist, I would have gone further and dispensed with the mythological mumbo jumbo of the miracles and just tackled Jesus as a man as the rather episodic reinventions of the familiar stories were interesting if a little dry, but the last sequence where he is “tempted” is absolutely fascinating.

It’s showing its age a little, but it’s a brave and thought provoking film that puts a human face on religious dogma.



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