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The Last Temptation of Christ

Where to Watch The Last Temptation of Christ


The Last Temptation of Christ is a highly controversial yet profoundly thought-provoking piece of cinema that was released in 1988. Directed by none other than Martin Scorsese and boasting an impressive cast consisting of Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, and Barbara Hershey, among others, the film boldly reinterprets the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in a manner seldom attempted in Christian theology or cinema.

In arguably one of his finest performances, Willem Dafoe takes on the role of Jesus Christ. Dafoe portrays Jesus as a laborer tormented by the divine calling and spiritual potential that rest upon his shoulders, weaving a rich character reel where Jesus is seen grappling with the daunting reality of his destiny. Dafoe's Jesus is not the calm, omniscient figure often depicted in Christian tradition, instead, he is profoundly human, experiencing fear, self-doubt, anger, temptation and even, at times, a desperate longing for an ordinary life.

Appearing alongside Dafoe is Harvey Keitel, in the role of Judas Iscariot, typically vilified as the one who Betrays Jesus. Scorsese and Keitel take a different route, humanizing Judah, and adding complex layers to his relationship with Jesus. He is portrayed as a passionate follower who struggles to understand and accept the mystical path that Jesus treads. Far from a traitor, this Judas is a loyal friend and disciple, duty-bound and conflicted.

Barbara Hershey grapples with the character of Mary Magdalene, traditionally depicted as a fallen woman redeemed by Jesus's kindness. Hershey’s Magdalene is both strong and vulnerable, her relationship with Jesus being portrayed with depth and sensitivity, adding a further human layer to the narrative.

The Last Temptation of Christ is not your typical biblical epic. Its distinctive narrative voice is a testament to Scorsese's directing geniality. He respectably threads on sensitive grounds, eschewing the formulaic retelling of Gospel narratives to explore the complexities of faith, divinity, and human nature, unearthing layers of Jesus’s life in a strikingly non-traditional but absorbing manner.

The narrative of the film is accentuated by Scorsese's renowned vision and craftsmanship. He employs imagery and symbolism strategically, to challenge conventional representations and understandings of biblical figures and stories. Alongside Scorsese’s visionary directing approach, the filmmakers engaged Peter Gabriel, to provide an unconventional, rhythmically driven, world-music-oriented score for the film. The soundtrack lends the movie a unique sense of mood and atmosphere, elevating it from the confines of a conventional period film to a spiritually riveting audio-visual experience.

Notably, the film takes its title from the book 'The Last Temptation' written by Nikos Kazantzakis, upon which the movie is based. The book's critical study of Jesus’s final moments on the cross takes a central place in the film's narrative to offer an intriguing reinterpretation of canonical biblical accounts. However, the movie is not a literal rendition of Kazantzakis's novel but is rather a liberal adaptation, taking auteur's liberties to extend and shape the plot for cinematic storytelling.

Despite the movie’s groundbreaking take on a usually sanctified subject, it was embroiled in controversy when it was released. Critics, viewers, religious leaders and scholars around the world had mixed reactions, and in some places, the film was met with outright protest and boycott due to its unconventional portrayal of Jesus Christ. Some saw the film as blasphemous, while others hailed it as a refreshing, nuanced take on a revered religious figure. Either way, The Last Temptation of Christ left few indifferent and for audiences today, it continues to offer a thought-provoking experience.

In summary, The Last Temptation of Christ is a compelling exploration of faith, torment and the human condition, providing viewers with a unique take on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Directed by the masterful hand of Martin Scorsese and performed by a stellar cast including Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, and Barbara Hershey, the film pushes conventional boundaries and challenges traditional depictions to shed a new light on one of history's most prominent figures.

The Last Temptation of Christ is a Drama movie released in 1988. It has a runtime of 164 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.5. It also holds a MetaScore of 80.

How to Watch The Last Temptation of Christ

Where can I stream The Last Temptation of Christ movie online? The Last Temptation of Christ is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Peacock Premium, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Last Temptation of Christ for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Martin Scorsese
Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Harry Dean Stanton, David Bowie
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