Based on the New York Times best seller by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, “Killing Jesus” is an epic motion picture event chronicling the life and death of Jesus as never seen before. Featuring an all-star cast, including Stephen Moyer, Rufus Sewell, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Kelsey Grammer, this thought-provoking account adds new context to the story of Jesus and the conflicts that led to his demise.
“Killing Jesus” is a spectacle of scenery and big scope and features solid acting regarding the life of Christ. It features some big names in the cast, such as Kelsey Grammer and John Rhys Davies. It is also a mixture of Biblical stories centering around the life of Jesus, and the movie manufactures a few variant ways of portraying certain events. In some cases, it offers abridged versions of the biblical text. For example, during the climatic scenes of Jesus being turned over to Pontius Pilate, the people cry out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” And Pilate simply hands Jesus over to the Roman guards for that very deed to be carried out. He doesn’t offer to set a prisoner free, which is what happens in scripture when the people choose Barabbas over Jesus. Another example of changing the scriptural story is when Joseph tells Mary they must simply flee to Egypt when Jesus’ life is in danger. The film shows no exposition of his dream, a warning from an angel of God to flee to Egypt for the child’s life. Certain scenes seem “incomplete” or possibly even “edited” from the biblical story.
Ever since “The Passion of the Christ,” that the bloodiness of many of the biblical films seems to have increased. This film is no exception. A man’s slit throat is plainly visible, as is blood on a child, murdered by one of King Herod’s henchmen. The same goes for the flogging of Jesus. His back looks like ripped pieces of flesh and the scene is very graphic. The crucifixion scenes are, too.
Due to the strong violence, we are awarding this film our Faith Based Seal. Jesus, especially in the beginning, is portrayed as not being sure of who he is and reluctant to accept his role. The film does, however, feature many moments from the Gospels, including the preaching of John the Baptist (as well as a graphic scene of his head being carried after his beheading), Jesus teaching the Beatitudes, the teaching to love one’s enemies, his forgiveness of the woman caught in adultery, the overturning of the money changers’ tables, his death and his resurrection. The clarity of the high definition on the Blu-ray is amazing. This is a gritty and edgy telling of the life and death of Jesus.