The Young Messiah

Rated 2.0

Director Cyrus Nowrasteh and co-writer Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh (adapting Anne Rice’s 2005 novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt) speculate about the life of the 7-year-old Jesus (Adam Greaves-Neal), whose family is making its way back from Egypt to Palestine, while Mary and Joseph (Sara Lazzaro, Vincent Walsh) wonder how to tell the boy that … well, I guess you’d say, in a way, he’s adopted. Meanwhile, King Herod (Jonathan Bailey) hears rumors of some kid raising people from the dead and sends a Roman centurion (Sean Bean) to look into it. There are a couple of good scenes—Jesus fielding questions from priests in the Jerusalem temple, and facing a demonic tempter only he can see (Rory Keenan)—but mostly the movie is simply dull, emotionally flat and so solemnly reverent that it’s dramatically inert. J.L.