Ewan McGregor is Jesus - and the Devil - in an imagined chapter from his forty days of fasting and praying in the desert. On his way out of the wilderness, Jesus struggles with the Devil over the fate of a family in crisis, setting for himself a dramatic test.
As a stand-alone slice-of-life movie, this might be marginally interesting. If you're looking for insight into Jesus' experience in the wilderness look elsewhere; you'll find none of it here. There is nothing of biblical or historical accuracy in this re-created account of Jesus' experience in the desert, nor in his dealings with Satan. This imaginary tale might be about a lone holy man who comes upon a family while traveling in the desert-- and little more. The scenery isn't majestic enough to be inspiring, the script not filled out enough to be meaningful.
The saving grace in this film (as would be expected) is the main actor, but it is not a role that is demanding or that couldn't have been filled by any actor of decent ability. The destinies of the characters make no point, nor does the plot. In the end I found myself neither fulfilled nor disappointed-- just unimpressed. This was not a tale of Jesus, nor a tale of morality, ethics, joy or pain. It is a trip to the grocery market, filling the car with gasoline, doing the laundry. The main characters have no more impact upon anything than that. The events which transpire have nothing to do with anything and don't really seem to effect even the characters involved.
Ewan playing the dual role of Satan is neither surprising nor notable. The "points" made are absurdist, without basis, and thus have little or no emotional impact on the viewer. We find here neither points to ponder nor heresy-- but rather simple blather that has no more impact than the rest of the events in the film.
We have seen far worse films and far better films. This left me with no more emotional response than a sigh and a wish the writer and director had given us a bit more mental fodder to chew on. As it stands I don't expect to give it a second thought over the next few days. The events have no impact upon the viewer, and as such leave as much mark as a passing shadow on a stone.
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