Has anyone noticed the exquisite irony that one of the legendary kings of the Persians (modern day Iran) was Jewish?
Last night I ended up watching One Night With the King until 2 AM. Let me state up front and on the record that it has absolutely nothing to do with Elvis and I absolutely refuse to admit it was on TBN. The DVD will be available at the end of January. If you have girls between the ages of ten and eighteen it isn’t a bad idea to consider purchasing it.
I highly recommend this one for teenage girls. It is well done and expresses all the qualities I worked so hard to hammer into the heads of the girls in my group at church: faith, honor, chastity, courage, decency, loyalty, and love. A new rendition of the Biblical story of Esther, it is beautiful, lush, romantic, and fairly accurate in a romantic over-blown way.
With a cast that includes a cameo by Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, and Indiana Jones's sidekick John Rhys-Davies (one of my favorites) it isn’t bad. James Callis, as Haman the Amelekite is a bit over the top as the villain, but then again, I think maybe the character needed to be so the modern viewer could grasp the deadly and malicious nature of his anti-Semitic hatred. The only real casting drawback was the choice of Luke Goss as Xerxes. He is a terrible actor, far too shallow to play one of the world’s great conquerors. The film could have been transformed from a lush Biblical Chick-Flick Movie of the Week to something far stronger if someone else besides Goss had played Xerxes.
That is the quick review. Now for the longer take.
I always cross my fingers when anyone attempts a costume drama, having been horribly burned by last year’s absolutely vile rendition of Pride and Prejudice. I was pleasantly surprised with One Night With the King. One of the great drawbacks of any costume drama is the vision of the director. Thankfully Michael O. Sajbel appears to be unafraid of trying to hop-scotch across the gigantic footsteps of Cecil B. DeMille as he went for lush, romantic, and opulent.
The problem with most people who are attempting to direct a historic film is they don’t seem to grasp the nuances of the time frame that encompasses the storyline. I think most directors are afraid of ‘epic’. The saving grace of One Night With the King is Sajbel’s willingness to delve into the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome, so to speak. We don’t know what the ancient Persian empire looked like, but we have some good ideas through architecture. While playing homage to the archaeology of the period, Sajbel utilized the look and feel of something akin to ancient India or A Thousand and One Nights.