I read about "The Gospel of John" in the newspapers, and the first thing that crossed my mind was, "Why another Jesus movie?" With "The Passion" coming just around the corner, "The Gospel of John" seemed a bit overshadowed by all of the hype Mel Gibson's movie was getting. Still, I did my research, being a fan of Jesus movies, and found some pretty good reviews. I still didn't expect it to be as good as it was, and as soon as I popped the DVD into my TV I was mesmerized for the entire three hours of the movie.
Henry Ian Cusick is absolutely amazing in his role of Jesus Christ. His only competition would be Robert Powell of "Jesus of Nazareth", but Cusick's performance was unlike any I'd seen before (and I've seen "Jesus" the miniseries with Jeremy Sisto, "Jesus" with Brian Deacon, "Matthew" with Bruce Marchiano, "The Greatest Story Ever Told" with Max Von Sydow, "King of Kings" with Jeff Hunter, "The King of Kings" with H.B. Warner, "Jesus of Nazareth" with Robert Powell, and both versions of "Jesus Christ Superstar"). His potrayal of Christ is absolutely effortless, which is even more impressive considering the fact that he's speaking word for word from the book of John. Not only does he do wonders with the script, but his overall interpretation of Jesus is unique and, for me, very inspiring. Cusick's Christ knows his mission and carries it out with determination, and, most of all, authority; but this doesn't hold back his human side either, and he is very believable as a loving, caring Christ (the single tear running down his face during the raising of Lazarus was so touching and convincing that it made ME cry). Some may believe that his attitude toward the Pharisees was harsh, and I'll admit that I was a bit taken back when he raised his voice more than once throughout the movie-- but as it progresses, his emotions seem appropriate for someone desperately trying to teach a message of salvation that no one seems to want to accept.
The special effects were very well-done. The scene where Jesus is walking on the water is finally convincing...
The only problem I had with the movie was that it seemed to shy away from the crucifixion. I was a bit disappointed at the way the movie zipped through one of the most crucial parts of the Gospel, especially with Cusick's passionate performance throughout the first couple of hours of the movie. The end result is about two hours and thirty minutes of beautiful cinematography and brilliant acting, and a really "blah" finale. The directors really missed the chance to make an impression by failing to utilize the most dramatic part of Christ's life. Cusick could have worked wonders with it.
As for the rest of the cast, each member was perfect. Even the minor roles were believable-- the Pharisees and the people on the street gave very in-depth, and occassionally passionate, performances.
"The Gospel of John" was one of the best potrayals of Christ I have ever seen. I highly recommend it, and just a heads up--the "Special Features" addition to the DVD set is a great bonus!
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