Once in a great while, a film is released that is doused in religion and spiked with controversy. And itâ€™s true: whenever politics or religion is the main focus of a film, things can tend to get a little contentious. Just ask Mel Gibson.
Some believe that the amount of blood and brutality shown on screen in his The Passion of the Christ is abhorrent, while others simply soak in the spiritually-charging depiction of the Christian Saviorâ€™s sacrifice for mankind. The highly controversial The Passion of the Christ definitely did for the new millennium what The Last Temptation of Christ did for the '80's; it got people talking. While some spent their time debating these pictures, others applauded them. Either way, both films received their publicity causing the biblical story of Jesus to be conversed worldwide. In the overall scope of things, both of these Christ-depicting films are excellent in their own right, yet each are admirable in their own distinctive way. The Passion is spiritual and earnest, while The Last Temptation is more inducing of critical thinking.
The Last Temptation chronicles the life of Jesusâ€”the man. Jesus is shown saving Mary Magdalene from being stoned to death, gaining His Apostles and followers, and then traveling to the desert for His forty-days-and-forty-nights stay to speak with God. Also depicted is Jesusâ€™ ability to heal the blind, turn water to wine, and resurrect Lazarus. Before the Christian Saviorâ€™s freely-accepted death, He is tempted by Satan many times. For example, throughout His mission from God, Jesus is enticed once by the flame in the desert, and again through one final effort while on the cross. In the end, it is all about the power of Christâ€™s love for man, His willingness to be crucified, and His capacity to overcome any and every temptation.
If there is anything that some may find offensive in The Last Temptation, it is either in one of Jesusâ€™ hallucinations or it is merely an attempt to show the human tendencies of an initially troubled and almost burdened Jesus. With that being said, even with its â€śnot based upon the Gospels but upon the fictional exploration of the eternal spiritual conflictâ€ť disclaimer, it may come off as a little discomforting to Christian fundamentalists. The film illustrates Jesus making love to Mary Magdalene, having children, and growing old. Overall, The Last Temptation of Christ does not represent Christ in glory, but rather in confusion of love and violence. However, ultimately, all of the human â€“ as opposed to divine â€“ depictions of Jesus, serve a purpose. Considering this picture is not a biblically referenced reenactment, but rather an in-depth look at what Jesus may have gone through during His time on earth as a man, it is a captivating work that ponders how tempting a real human life could have been for Jesus. For those who donâ€™t consider themselves austere on the subject matter at hand, this film will seriously provoke an inordinate amount of thought on the nature of Christ.