I became a Martin Scorsese fan a long time ago after I saw Casino when I was 16 and afterwards I wanted to see other movies that he made. I went on IMDB, went to 1988 and found "The Last Temptation of Christ." I was amazed. The same guy who directed a violent, profane movie about greed made a movie about Jesus?
Then I read that it was not biblical. That turned me off. Often, Biblically inaccurate movies are not that good and turn out confusing, frustrating, or even boring.
But I did some research on the movie anyways. On You Tube, I found a 13 minute interview with Martin Scorsese which stated why he made it. He noticed from his Catholic upbringing that Jesus was God AND He was a man. He was a human-like us! Since that is the case, what is it that makes Him human like us?
That is the point of this movie. It's not biblical, but rather a thought provoking portrayal of Jesus' struggle with being human and His destiny to suffer and die by crucifixion.
I also saw that Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel both adored it. Roger gave it 4/4 stars and in 2008 he wrote a review for his "Great Movies" series of reviews. And despite giving it 3.5 stars, Gene called it the best movie of the year!
Additionally, I discovered that the un biblical nature of the movie gained controversy upon release. There were protests, death threats to Martin Scorsese, attacked film goers, etc. over the movie. And most of the protesters did not even see it!
Then I decided it was time to check out this movie for myself. My 18th birthday was coming up, so I asked a friend who was once my babysitter to get it for me. I got it a month early. You will not be able to imagine how excited I was! I watched it that night to check it out.
A part of me wants to analyze the movie scene by scene. But you probably don't want to read a review that long.Therefore I will discuss 2 main inaccuracies that made an uproar over 3 decades ago:
2 Corinthians 5:21 says of Jesus: "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." So Jesus was sinless. Got it.
There is a scene in which Jesus talks with someone on a hill and he says that He sins. This ticked off many people-and it was even debated on Oprah. But the scene does not end here.
"We all sin." The person responds. "Well, not my sins." Jesus continues.
Look at my verse quote again. Jesus knew no sin, but took our sins upon Himself. That's what He is saying-at least that's how I look at it.
The biggest controversy involves Christ on the cross, and an angel comes and tells Him that God wants Him to live a normal life-and not die for mankind. Jesus has struggled with this fate for the whole movie, and is relieved to hear this. He comes down, marries Mary Magdalene, and has kids with her. This includes a half-minute scene in which they have sex. This angered the protesters the most.
However, the movie is a work of fiction-and so this is not meant to be taken seriously.
Later, He grows old and learns that His "angel" is actually Satan-who has deceived Him so He would not achieve victory over death. He asks God for another chance to die on the cross-and He gets it.
He goes back on the cross and-relieved that He has achieved God's will, smiles and screams: "It is accomplished!" This is followed by joyous music that I have to dance to every time! :)
As a result, the movie ended up making me appreciate Jesus's sacrifice more than any other moment in my life! I was so uplifted by the movie for the next few days, and I still have an emotional attachment now-after seeing it 7 or 8 times in 3 years! I even shared that with my senior year English class when I had to discuss my favorite movie for a minute as a class assignment!
There is so much more that I could say about The Last Temptation of Christ, but this gives you a general idea on why I cherish this movie so much! I apologize that this review is so long(this may be the longest review that I ever write) but this is to give you a general idea on how spiritual, and not blasphemous, it is.
The movie was based on a novel by an agnostic. In the prologue, he writes, in paraphrase: "I hope this story will let any free man more than before, and better than before, love Christ." And that is where The Last Temptation of Christ undeniably succeeds!