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Manchester Passion (2006)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | Music | Musical  -  14 April 2006 (UK)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 44 users  
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The story of Jesus Christ's last few hours told through the meaning of music by Manchester musicians.

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Title: Manchester Passion (TV Movie 2006)

Manchester Passion (TV Movie 2006) on IMDb 8/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Presenter / Pontius Pilate
Nicholas R. Bailey ...
Chris Bisson ...
Tim Booth ...
Debbie Bowers ...
Peter's accuser #1
Sam Brackenbury ...
Jason Cole ...
Guard
Mike Comerford ...
Guard
Anna French ...
Peter's accuser #2
Pete Greenwood ...
Guard
Ian Gregg ...
Theif / fellow prisoner
Denise Johnson ...
Mary
Jason Jump ...
Rhydian Lewis ...
Marcus MacFarlane ...
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Storyline

The last hours of Jesus Christ's life told through the meaning of music from some of Manchester's greatest musicians: New Order, Oasis and The Smiths to name but a few. Written by Stuart Gray

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Genres:

Drama | Music | Musical

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Release Date:

14 April 2006 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

While Jesus is delivering the Last Supper, a man in the background can be seen reading "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, the controversial best seller that suggests many different things about Jesus' life. See more »

Goofs

When the interviewer is talking to someone, a man walking by in the background draws the cross the wrong way round. See more »

Connections

Version of The Passion (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Not a totally successful experiment but well worth a look for trying something new and interesting with my license fee
1 May 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As Jesus approaches Albert Square in the centre of Manchester, an 8-meter cross makes it way from the other side of town to meet him and present him with his fate. Meanwhile in Albert Square itself, Keith Allen tells a large audience and a live television audience about the journey of Jesus, all the time cutting away to follow the story as it progresses on the streets.

Managing to sound terrible to the same degree as it sounds fascinating, this film interested me just because it was something different and comparatively daring. Not only was it a retelling of the story of Jesus but it also uses songs from famous Manchester bands to tell it. Obviously not feeling that was enough of a risk, the filmmakers also decided to actually set it on the streets of Manchester – oh, and to do it live as well. In regards the sheer ambition of the project, it is worthy and it manages to pull it off. We didn't have any w*nkers deciding to try and mess it up, security was good and the whole thing had not a single noticeable technical hitch. The crowd appear into it and the support from the people of Manchester was commendable.

However this is not the same as the film itself being successful because it is quite a mixed bag. The use of songs of Manchester origin is a bit of a gimmick that never 100% works; some of them fit really well, some of them don't but the overriding effect they have is to rob the story of its emotional impact. It is a strange thing but although catchy and unusual, the songs being performed live mean that the focus is on getting them in tune rather than bringing out the pain or sorrow that should be inherent in them. To their credit the cast try hard. Morfitt makes a good turn of Jesus and manages to inject heart into his character, even if he never makes it his own totally. Booth is actually pretty good and sings with emotion, while Bailey does well in his one main scene. Denise Johnson (Mary) has a good voice but is too remote from the action and her parts just feel like singing, rather than her being a character in the story. Personally I'm not a big Keith Allen fan but he does an OK job of presenting even if he is just a bit of a bloke the whole time (although he can't sing for toffee – a fact I unfortunately learnt during Wonderwall, which was the song I had been waiting for).

The actual presentation is mostly quite clever but, the bbc being the bbc, they can't help to throw in liberal ideas (which I don't actually mind, because I agree with them) but they do so in an obvious way. So the comments about wrongful arrest on trumped up charges are thrown in clunkily and having Jesus in an orange jump suit is just too obvious for words. However, despite this, the film is still worth a look regardless of how mixed it is, because it is an interesting idea and the sort of thing that belongs on a publicly funded television channel; commercial channels would never touch such a film because they can't afford to alienate their viewers, but BBC3 has no such problem and, although I understand the concerns some have about this, it is a strength of the channel that it can afford to take risks and I wish it did this sort of thing more often than it churns out uninspired sitcoms and soaps.


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