Son of God: It Does Its Job Well

Posted: March 19, 2014 in Movies


Being a Christian and a film critic watching a film like Son of God, an adaptation of the Gospel of John and a smidgen of the others compiled from footage of The Bible miniseries which aired on The History Channel last year, creates a lot of ambivalence.  There is the joy of seeing a depiction of Jesus that aligns with every Christian soul, one of abounding love and total divinity.  For this depiction, the easy on the eyes, Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado, is the perfect Messiah choice.   Morgado has a soothing, trusting smile and eyes so tranquil that it easy to connect to him.  His voice, with his natural Portuguese accent muted to an almost part European/American sounding inflection, has an easy comfort that not only makes one want to listen but follow also.

There is no doubt in this Jesus as to who he is and what his mission is.  He is the Son of God spreading God’s word.  At times this obviousness and lack of internal conflict makes Jesus the least interesting character dramatically in his own story.  The cutting out of Satan (even if it was just to avoid the Devil looks like President Obama controversy) only enhances and assures the ending victory over death.  For a Christian Son of God gives infinite reassurance that God was then, is now and will be forever in control.

As in The Bible, humanity provides the drama of the story.  Everything turns on believing– the apostles saved because they can see, hear and truly believe and the Pharisees/Romans because they can see and yet still disbelieve in their heart and mind.  That is the New Testament/Gospel split played out for every Christian heart to see, mourn the fall, praise God’s good solution and revel in the fact that it is an everlasting covenant.  Man needs the drama.  God doesn’t.

There is just enough historical reality in Son of God to give it the sheen of witness.  The Apostles are grungy, desperate, hungry and proletarian enough to wish for the hope and hope for the truth and truly believe it when it arrives.  Darwin Shaw as Peter gets the duality of the character well.  Greg Hicks as Pilate and Adrian Schiller as Caiaphas excellently plays their roles, not only bringing the political intrigue of the times to the crushing forefront, but also being the blinders of the story that  show how reason and false faith keeps man from seeing the truth in front of their eyes.    Going with actors rather than stars was a wise choice here.   

Son of God never tries to be the intimate document of witness that Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ tried to be 10 years ago.  Son of God only wants to bring the good news and not the agony of the passion, the sacrifice.  It does its job well.  And leaving everyone waiting for Son of God 2.  For most Christians, hopefully coming soon.  Son of God gets a B+ from me.

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