This feels like a cramped, TV-style retelling, with small groups of people, no special effects, in some ways almost cheesy.On the other hand, Variety reviewer Todd McCarthy just plain lays into it.
This Christ bleeds profusely, but the dramatic impact from the truncating of the story is to make the issue of color more paramount. The image cannot be forgotten, and it matches, in its way, with troubled recollections of lynching photos all of us have seen.
But once the revisionist frisson of a black Jesus, not to mention Mary, Joseph and Judas, has worn off, one is stuck with more mundane matters such as story dynamics, visual style and character verisimilitude, much to the misfortune of the audience. Even at a brief 81 minutes (before end credits), this is lugubrious stuff, as LaMarre wearisomely elaborates on the assorted uncertainties of that fateful night;Ouch!
But lacking the drama of Jesus' trial and the passion, as well as the substance of his teachings, LaMarre's turgid take has very little to offer dramatically or inspirationally. Except for an unusual late-on sequence in which his Jesus becomes virtually hysterical with fear about dying, the helmer's leading performance is marked by monotonously deliberate elocution.
Shot around Santa Clarita in rugged terrain north of Los Angeles, the pic consists mostly of close-ups that make no use of natural backdrops, but can't disguise the minimal production values; "crowd" scenes are particularly threadbare and unconvincing. The mostly synthesized score drones on and on under most scenes.
Given this film is only getting a limited release today (before a wider release on Nov. 10th), and that it's still the middle of the night in the US then I suspect a few more reviews will get added in the next few hours. I'll post them here rather than starting a new post every time.
Meanwhile various bloggers have reported the film's release without much in the way of film analysis. Some seem to love the concept, others hate it. Most notably, Dan Granados has added speech bubbles to the still at the top of the page
I've posted a few more reviews of this film here
Labels: Color of the Cross