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The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

The life of Jesus Christ, his journey through life as he faces the struggles all humans do, and his final temptation on the cross. (R, 164 min.)


Sunday, April 16, 2023

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Monday, April 17, 2023

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The Last Temptation of Christ, by Martin Scorsese, is a towering achievement. Though it initially engendered enormous controversy, the film can now be viewed as the remarkable, profoundly personal work of faith that it is. This fifteen-year labor of love, an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’s landmark novel that imagines an alternate fate for Jesus Christ, features outstanding performances by Willem Dafoe, Barbara Hershey, Harvey Keitel, Harry Dean Stanton, and David Bowie; bold cinematography by the great Michael Ballhaus; and a transcendent score by Peter Gabriel.

Starring: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey
Director: Martin Scorsese
Gemre: Drama

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"The Last Temptation of Christ is a revelation."

— Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer

"...shockingly potent, leaving me in tears..."

— Kathleen Sachs, Chicago Reader

"The crucifixion is the strongest such scene of all time. [26 Aug 1988]"

— Mike Clark, USA Today

"As Jesus, Willem Dafoe offers a brilliant, even inspired, performance. Dafoe's character is strong and charismatic, though extremely troubled and ever-questioning."

— Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel

"Scorsese and Schrader have made a courageous film that people of all religions or no religion should be able to watch with identical fascination. [10 Aug 1988]"

— Jay Scott, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"The movie is generally powerful and fresh. It's fiercely, dauntingly exotic, yet familiar at the same time, and the Crucifixion, experienced by a man who suffers as we do, is terrifying."

— David Denby, New York Magazine/Vulture

"At the bottom of the controversy is an intense, utterly sincere, frequently fascinating piece of art by a director for whom, clearly, the message of Jesus' life has immediacy and meaning."

— Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times

"I was profoundly moved by The Last Temptation of Christ, struck by its passion. The film works as parable, and it works as drama. It's brawny and daring and beautiful, full of an eerie grace."

— Bill Cosford, Miami Herald

"It's a challenging film in the best sense, a gritty, deeply felt effort to renew the significance of Christ in terms of contemporary experience, and one that reminds us of how radical Christ was."

— Jay Carr, Boston Globe

"Dafoe manages to draw us into the mystery, anguish and joy of the holy life. This is anything but another one of those boring biblical costume epics. There is genuine challenge and hope in this movie. [12 Aug 1988]"

— Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

"This was controversial at the time and that put alot of people off, believing that the film was probably all hype, but this is a respectful and complex work of fiction around the concepts of the biblical character and his life."

— Kim Newman, Empire

"A film of challenging ideas, and not salacious provocations, The Last Temptation of Christ is a powerful and very modern reinterpretation of Jesus as a man wracked with anguish and doubt concerning his appointed role in life."

— Variety

"Powerful, haunting, and at times very moving, The Last Temptation of Christ presents its account of the events and conflicts of Christ's life with a depth of dramatized feeling and motivation that renders them freshly compelling."

— TV Guide Magazine

"In an age of post-Christian facetiousness, Martin Scorsese's work daringly attempts to restore passion and melodrama to the Gospel story. Protests notwithstanding, the film is an affirmation of faith in the power of both the Gospel and the movies."

— Time

"Here is a film that engaged me on the subject of Christ's dual nature, that caused me to think about the mystery of a being who could be both God and man. I cannot think of another film on a religious subject that has challenged me more fully. The film has offended those whose ideas about God and man it does not reflect. But then, so did Jesus."

— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times