Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Willem Dafoe
Harvey Keitel
Barbara Hershey
Harry Dean Stanton
David Bowie
Verna Bloom.
Directors
Martin Scorsese.
Screenwriters
Paul Schrader .
Running Time
164 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Annie
2 Star Empire Rating
Theory Of Everything, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Bringing Tibet Home
3 Star Empire Rating
Kon-Tiki
4 Star Empire Rating
Enemy
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Leviathan
5 Star Empire Rating
Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating

The Last Temptation Of Christ
An interesting story given extra depth.


submit to reddit


Plot
Jesus struggles with his role as the Christ. On the cross, he has a vision of the regular life he might have led if he were to refuse his destiny.


Review

The subject of heated controversy, this sincere, respectful film admits at the outset that it’s a fiction (from the novel by Nikos Katantzakis) rather than drawn from the Gospels.  It makes a brave attempt to answer some of the problems raised by Jesus Christ as a historical, religious and dramatic character.  Dafoe's Jesus is a self-torturing messiah, reluctant to tread his preordained path, attracted to the simple pains and joys of the ordinary life he can never lead, and never quite sure what it is God wants him to do. 
 
The film has a dusty, realistic look - Judea is a Third World desert of tattooed women and vicious Roman occupation troops - and doesn't skimp on violence.  Not until Mel Gibson’s more gruesome, less-protested Passion of the Christ was the crucifixion depicted as such a bloody, agonising business, and the film is complete with an epic load of ear-loppings, stabbings, mutilations, sacrifices and heart-rippings. 
 
As in most religious epics, there are longeurs - including an ineffectual cameo by David Bowie as a bored Pontius Pilate - but Dafoe and (particularly) Harvey Keitel as an unusually heroic, red-headed Judas keep kicking the movie back into gear.  The finale Mary Whitehouse was so upset by is worth the wait, though not for an extremely tasteful sex scene as Jesus becomes the husband of Mary Magdalene.  In an inversion of the premise of It's a Wonderful Life, Jesus has a vision of the world as it would be if he chose not to die on the cross: he can live to a ripe old age, but humanity is doomed.


Verdict
This was controversial at the time and that put alot of people off, believing that the film was probably all hype, but this is a respectful and complex work of fiction around the concepts of the biblical character and his life.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Last Temptation Of Christ
Empire Star Rating

Masterpiece

Possibly the best thing Scorsese ever made from an artistic standpoint. Incredible and fascinating film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Coyleone at 23:31, 06 June 2014 | Report This Post


SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's Three Favourite Scenes Of 2014
A hat-trick of moneyshots from the last 12 months

The 32 Funniest Movie Moments Of The Year
2014's side-splittingest scenes

The 10 Best Games Of The Year
2014's top pixel-pushers duke it out for the number one slot

Dan Stevens: The Breakout Star Of 2014
We congratulate The Guest star on his year to remember

The 15 Most Memorable Character Deaths Of The Year
2014’s RIP honour roll

Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)