A word-for-word adaptation of the Good News Bible’s Gospel of John
, and it plays like the longest of Sunday School lessons. Henry Ian Cusick is impressive as Christ, but the movie meanders as it insists upon its stunt of bringing seemingly every word of the text to the screen. The supporting actors are not noteworthy, and Christopher Plummer’s voiceover is a stilted bore. At nearly three hours, this one could’ve been cut down easily (there’s far too much flashback footage). Sure, the Christ story is worth three hours easy, but not when it doesn’t have a real screenplay. A few sequences work (Christ walking on water, the Crucifixion), but man if this film isn’t too wordy. Christ repeats himself repeatedly and doesn’t touch upon more than three or four concrete subjects during his many hours of verbalizing. It also doesn’t help that the shoddy costumes make the picture feel more like a mid-level church’s Easter pageant rather than a movie. For a good movie on this subject, rent Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth
(380 minutes, and most of them beautiful) or Martin Scorsese’s controversial The Last Temptation of Christ
. I’m a little scared taking shots at a movie featuring the J-Man, but I’ll just have to take my chances. It bored me.