Billy Zane stars as Barabbas--the man whose life was spared because of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Based on the Nobel Prize in Literature winning novel by Par Lagerkvist, Barabbas is a...
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Billy Zane stars as Barabbas--the man whose life was spared because of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Based on the Nobel Prize in Literature winning novel by Par Lagerkvist, Barabbas is a story rooted in the Bible which will come to life on REELZ as a four-hour miniseries and tells the ultimate story of redemption. Barabbas was shot on location in Tunisia and is directed by Emmy Award winner Roger Young.Written by
Hristo Shopov plays Kedar in the show, the leader of Zealots who wants nothing more than to bring down the Romans and he recruits Barabbas (Billy Zane) to help him. In The Passion of the Christ (2004) he appeared as a Roman general, Pontious Pilate, this time he supervises the procedure of trials involving both Jesus and Barabbas. See more »
I'm a Roman/Judean history nut, so when this came out, I had to see it. Three hours later, I have mixed thoughts.
The Good: the plot! It has its shaky moments but overall, this is a decent script. Barabbas comes across as a cynical, self-serving man who undergoes a change of heart and finds redemption. Pilate's wife, Claudia, also has a decent role, far bigger than any other depiction of her ever made—although I can't say the end of her story made me happy! Wandering in and out of different biblical events was also fun.
The Strange: can someone explain to me why Pilate has a beard? It wasn't fashionable for Romans at the time. He's also much too short to be a believable governor, considering Barabbas is about a foot taller. Why does Ester one minute tell Barabbas fornication is a sin against God, then turns around awhile later after following Jesus around and fornicates with him? Also, even though thirty years have passed by the end (which the film doesn't tell us, and most people ignorant of the time period wouldn't know), no one gets any older except Peter why is that? The Bad: the acting! I'm not sure if it was foreigners struggling to speak in English rather than Italian that turned in such a crop of mediocre and sometimes downright painful performances, or that they just have no talent, but almost no one in this production is memorable. Zane is better than most but still hams it up a bit; I also wonder why Hristo Shopov is wasted in a minor role. He's played Pilate twice before (in Mel Gibson's film, and in a foreign follow-up), so it's strange they wouldn't let him do it again, particularly given that he has five times the presence and "governor-ness" than "this" Pilate. Also, something is "off" in this Jesus, but I'm not sure what; it's slightly creepy in places.
The Result: is a decent film hampered by its low production values; if you can overlook that, it's enjoyable, moving, and quite often surprising in where it leads.
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