"The Last Temptation of Christ" stands today as one of the most controversial films of all times. The film was based on the "Nikos Kazantzakis" novel, that was first published in 1953. The book as well as the film is still banned in certain countries to this day. Many were surprised that legendary filmmaker "Martin Scorsese," would tackle such a heavy film. As a modern day legend he essentially had a lot to lose and a took heat for the film. It is a retelling of the most known story of the Bible. The film stars "Willem Dafoe","Harvey Keitel", and "Barbara Hershey."
Kazantzakis's idea was to tell the story of the life of Jesus from a more humanistic perspective. According to the Bible, Jesus took on his duties and sacrificed himself with full diligence. The film's idea was to get into the mind of Jesus as a man first, savior second. What if he freely thought and expressed reluctance, depression, and anger? Would he succumb to temptation or continue with his mission without hesitation? Whether you're a Christian or not the film is very well done, and does challenge one's own thoughts. As one man's interpretation, I don't feel it should be taken as serious as it has been (other than being an entertaining film).
The film starts moving pretty fast. To enjoy this film it's best to watch it in the mind state of a novel. When you see the inaccuracies it won't throw the viewer off. In the beginning of the film Jesus (Dafoe) is connecting with voices of God. The voices are telling him that he needs to follow God's plan for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus is crafting a cross for himself (that he feels he will be sacrificed on) for Roman crucifixes.
In Judea, this is looked down upon. Mary Magdalene (Hershey) has been Jesus love interest for most of his life. She becomes a prostitute because of Jesus rejection and her outcast status. Mary tried to seduce Jesues. but he declines. Judas (Keitel) admires Jesus loyalty to God and wants him to join Judas's cause.Jesus feels that Judas is on a different path. Judas is sent to murder Jesus. He is asked to lead the attack on the Romans.Jesus lets Judas know that his message is about love, and that is the key to salvation. Judas agrees then to join Jesus group but if he strays from teaching the gospel he will kill him.
After Mary is saved from being stoned by Jesus he begins speaking in front of the crowd and develops a loyal following. As time progresses Jesus knows his mansions but is insecure with himself. All the way down to the ultimate test. If he chose not to sacrifice himself how would the world be? Could he live a normal life if he declined? The film goes deep into those options.
Martin Scorsese should be commended for the courage he had to pursue this filmmakers. As it is sad real filmmakers do not mind taking chances. Whether you're a spiritual person or not. This movie is about the choices and the doubtful thoughts we all have. I think Kazantzakis point was to show those true human emotions. Brilliant movie.