Black thorns against a blood red background.

2021 Movie Draft- Round 1 Pick 3- Strange Dylan selects- Drama- The Last Temptation Of Christ.

Strange Dylan’s blog can be found at – https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/110182436

Director: Martin Scorsese | Written by: Paul Schrader | DOP: Michael Ballhaus | Actors: Willem Dafoe , Harvey Keitel , Barbara Hershey , Harry Dean Stanton, and David Bowie|

At the time of my young film watching career, the only religious films I knew were the horrid Hallmark Films (not my cup of tea) or Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ. Both of which are the most basic religion films I have seen and none of which left a mark on me. Yet, later in my life, I stumbled across Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ which influenced my view on religion and filmmaking as a whole.

The story itself has similar instances to events in the bible, but does change some scenes around to get the main point across. For example, this Jesus is in doubt over God. He says a lot of things I believe those who struggle with religion do every day. This is a transcript from earlier in the film.

Jesus : “God hunts me. He drives his nails into my heart. He wants to push me over. He wants me to speak. But he didn’t touch my lips with burning coals. How can I speak? I sinned.”

Jerobeam : “We all sin.”

Jesus : “Not my sins. What does He want from me? Can’t he see what’s inside me? All my sins. I’m Lucifer.”

This is the most relatable I have seen Jesus portrayed on the screen. Even if this a “what if” tale, it does feel like this could have happened, I mean people have the same thoughts on a daily basis. This is in part thanks to Dafoe’s beautiful facial expressions that he brings out on the screen which brings out Christ’s struggle and doubt in scenes like these.The same can be said for Keitel, who uses his vocal control to convey his loyalty to Christ and even his anger as well. Overall, the acting is phenomenal even with David Bowie’s brief four minute scene. I was impressed with the casting choices over all.

The cinematography worked perfectly. The desert and surrounding cities are dirty, full of crime and deceit and add that with the overcrowded shots showing great production design as well. The shots feel heavy with a lot of close ups which provide a lot of intimate moments with the characters. It feels like we are out in the desert with Jesus and his followers and even feels like we are crucified with him. There are no grotesque shots of Jesus being whipped ( I.E. Passion of the Christ) but a simple shot of the thorns piercing in his skin while blood flows down. Less is more and this is no exception. My favorite shots of the whole film were in the final moments. Jesus screams “It is accomplished” followed by a quiet but not silent “It is accomplished” which was executed very well. The camera stays on him, no crane goes above him, it is static. The shots did not feel constructed but organic. Also this scene works with the ending score.

The score beautifully done by Peter Gabriel allows the audience to enter this different tale of Jesus Christ. The sounds and rhythms blend well within the story and actually add to the story itself. The best example can be seen at the very end where Jesus says “It is accomplished, It is accomplished” which can be perceived as the sound of angels sweeping down to take Jesus home.

This is a film that needs to be seen and more importantly felt. I could write a novel about how this film succeeds in every aspect but I figure after reading this review, you will have just enough intrigue to feel The Last Temptation of Christ.


  1. Great pick Dylan. Not everyone’s cup of tea but I liked it a lot. Just the way Scorsese chose to shoot it and the actors he used. I grew up with the British bible films so it was cool to see this idea.
    A buddy of mine seen it in Paris when it first was released. When he went in to the theater there was a small protest outside. When he came out after the film was over, there was a full fledged riot. Look forward to your other picks.

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