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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 26.87%
Average: 5.97%
Pretty Bad: 4.48%
Total Crap: 13.43%

3 reviews, 49 user ratings

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Last Temptation of Christ, The
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by the Grinch

"A film that focuses on the humanity of Jesus - Imagine that!"
5 stars

I don't know why the Christian fundamentalists got their priestly panties in such a bunch over this. If anything, Martin Scorsese's powerful 1988 film did more to reinforce the internal battle that Christ must've faced, and ironically, probably inadvertantly drew more people to Christianity than years of brainwashing and annoying pamphlets combined.

I actually remember when this movie was released. I was a kid, and my dad was working for Universal Studios at the time. For about two weeks during this film's short stint at the box office, my dad would come home with stories of picket lines and daily bomb threats to the studio. If you ask me, sounds like the modern day pharisees couldn't handle the possibility that Christ was made more attainable to everyone by being portrayed as a person, a HUMAN BEING, who didn't just KNOW that his pappy was the G-meister, and that daddy would make everything a-ok and clean up this awful mess.

I put this movie out of my mind. I was kind of afraid to watch it, thinking it would be a snoozer, until recently I was listening to Peter Gabriel's "Passion"-the excellent soundtrack for the film, and felt like I was only seeing certain parts of a whole. Man, best decision I've made since I cancelled my cable!

This Jesus had internal conflict like all of us, he was the ultimate "doubting thomas", he had natural desires, he was in love with a prostitute, he had unhealthy thoughts, he had lustful fantasies, he was a carpenter - but in a nice twist, he was a carpenter who made crucifixes for the Romans, and felt constant guilt about his profession. To quote Scorsese "When this Jesus walks into a room, he doesn't glow in the dark." In no way was the Christ figure ever demeaned, disrespected, or dishonored...he was a man suffering great spiritual conflict. And I think this is what pissed so many jeezusfreaks off, the fact that this film took Christ off of the proverbial pedestal that so many people put him on, and made him a man with a human side and a spiritual side, a figure for everyone, for everybody. There's a scene in the film that's absolutely right on in this regard...after Jesus turns badass and busts up all the money changers' tables in the temple, he looks up at the pharisees and shouts "You think God is only for you?! God is not an Israelite!"

The factor that I feel sets it apart from so many other biblical and spiritually inspired films is its obviously low budget. One thing that always pissed me off with movies like 'The Ten Commandments' and 'King of Kings' was that they had this pompous look of an unlimited budget and much fanfare. These films are the golden chalice to Last Temptation's humble wooden grail. Jesus's robes don't look like they were pressed yesterday in a chinese laundry...they're dirty, rugged, and worn. The Romans don't all look like they're playing hackysack in Judea...their armor is rusted and dusty, even Pontius Pilate looks like he'd rather be in a vomitorium back in Rome. Satan isn't so obvious in his appearances to Christ...his offers and appearances seem humble, and truly are decieving, and there's no symphony or Mick Jagger rock tunes when he appears. And the crucifixion isn't played up to be the event of the millenium, there's no shafts of light booming down from heaven, there's no pep talks from Jehovah, there's no cherubs farting in the Romans' faces, Jesus appears to be just another poor schmuck hung out to be ridiculed and punished by the elements.

The movie is like a brilliantly crafted parable, and I'm almost compelled to read the Nikos Kazantzakis novel upon which it's based. I can't say that there was ever a moment in the film that wasn't well thought out and completely necessary. It's a bit bleak, but I don't think there was much comic relief in Roman-occupied Judea other than laughing at Pilate's toga, and I'm sure that was only a one or two time joke.

Scorsese set out to make a personal and spiritual film, and I think he made a brilliant decision to adapt Kazantzakis's novel. Last Temptation will undoubtedly stand the test of time, and will always be a much needed slap in the face to all the self-righteous zealots who use Christ and faith in a sick struggle for power over others, instead of for power over themselves.

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originally posted: 12/03/99 20:50:40
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User Comments

6/25/12 bryan the passion of the christ is far more better than this piece of shit 1 stars
3/24/11 Jeff Wilder Excellent film. Far better than Mel Gibson's atrocious film. 5 stars
12/21/09 Loki I think the most controversial part of the film was when Jesus talked to Paul. Best movie! 5 stars
10/22/09 art MEL GIBSON"S PASSION OF THE CHRIST much BETTER than this BLASPHEMY! 1 stars
6/27/09 Joe Smaltz Pretty sad for Scorsese. gave up in the middle, should have earlier! 1 stars
6/11/09 art sacrilegious!,mel gibson"s "passion of the christ"<million times better. 1 stars
1/31/09 hardfact strange film 4 stars
6/08/08 John Patricio great film. I dont understand the controversy 4 stars
6/01/08 dupadoit so stupid 1 stars
10/14/07 Wendell O. Maness I don't believe in God anyway and this movie was lame 2 stars
6/20/07 Bitchflaps Dafoe and Keitel are great, but the "Grand Inquisitor" scene with Paul was lazy plagiarism 3 stars
6/27/06 Michael Parkes An absolutely amazing movie. Spritually, far more effective than Gibson's "Passion..." 5 stars
3/18/06 Rever what Jake said 5 stars
8/11/05 Jake Powerful. Better than Mel Gibson's Movie and one haunting film. 5 stars
4/15/05 Veronika Boyd This movie makes me want to change my status from Agnostic to Christian. 5 stars
3/21/05 Gray kicks the crap out of pasions 5 stars
2/26/05 keith withington Powerful film. Anything but blasphemous as final scene highlights. 5 stars
1/27/05 MyGreenBed Put this baby on when you're in need of sleep, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 2 stars
10/27/04 Carolyn Metz powerful, but too gory 4 stars
10/25/04 UMER not upto the usual standards of scorsese 3 stars
3/27/04 Boris Morales great film, awesome soundtrack, beautiful photography 5 stars
3/20/04 Con Kangas Brilliant 5 stars
12/29/03 Agent Sands Great filmmaking, & actually really respectful towards Christianity. 5 stars
12/20/03 David Jones Very Powerful Film 5 stars
11/28/03 john replaces one Christ myth with another but effective 5 stars
4/19/03 Ubu the Ripper Not even worth the effort to type a comment. 1 stars
11/24/02 Charles Tatum It's based on a novel, NOT THE BIBLE 5 stars
9/15/02 Bastard Child of Mother Teresa What the fuck? Y'all know this one sucks! 1 stars
8/19/02 artemishia willem dafoe is AMAZING! this film is the best 5 stars
12/02/01 travis r. sorensen scorsese should have won best director. really makes you think. 5 stars
10/30/01 andrea reid only people that know the truth about Jesus should watch this film, because it is wrong 4 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Interesting...controversial...and a great soundtrack. 4 stars
7/25/01 Koscher very spiritually moving...right on 5 stars
6/11/01 SlipNSlide what's with you and "revisionist"? how very evangelistic of you. 5 stars
5/15/01 R.W. Welch Not very convincing revisonist bio, so-so acting. 3 stars
5/01/01 JW Brilliant 5 stars
4/18/01 Movie Hound Video As a Christian I was not offended. It's just a movie 4 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Average, well-acted, occasionally interesting. 3 stars
2/03/01 b.t. A personal triumph for America's greatest living director. Dafoe is astonishing as Jesus. 5 stars
12/10/00 Bradley Herring Pure cinema. Scorsese has accomplished perfection, protestors be damned. 5 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla Weird movie, i guess it kinda challenged my religious scruples, see it if your open minded 5 stars
11/13/00 Larry I am much more inspired by a Jesus I can relate to, rather than a see-all God figure. 5 stars
10/14/00 comeasur #1 on my all time list.Spiritually enriching.Empathize with all Jesus lived and died for. 5 stars
6/19/00 Ray Marvellous. Obviously a huge emotional and intellectual commitment from director and cast. 5 stars
4/30/00 Melchoir This movie is a wonderful, brilliant look at the life of Jesus. 5 stars
2/10/00 Kevin Delaney If you're insulted by this movie, you are a simpleton 5 stars
1/21/00 Leah I was insulted by the way Jesus was portrayed. He was God, without sin. 2 stars
12/14/99 Karahde Khan Almost every great director has made a dud. Scorsese is no exception. Crucify this bore. 1 stars
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  23-Sep-1988 (R)



Directed by
  Martin Scorsese

Written by
  Paul Schrader

  Willem Dafoe
  Harvey Keitel
  Barbara Hershey
  Verna Bloom
  Paul Greco
  Steve Shill

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