On Bluray from director Christopher Menaul and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment comes another point of view when it comes to “Killing Jesus.”
Featuring an all star cast, the film follows the life of Jesus of Nazareth (Haaz Sleiman) grown into a man he begins to learn about himself. From the faith of John the Baptist (Abhim Galeya) Jesus is baptized to begin his journey.
Looking for those to follow him, Jesus befriends Simon (Alexis Rodney), John (Khalid Laith), James (Dimitri Leonidas), Thomas (Mehdi Lamrini) and Judas Iscariot (Joe Doyle). Following the prophecy, his Apostles see as Jesus performs miracles and tells them of what is to come.
That includes those who fear the growing believers such a King Herod (Kelsey Grammer), Herod Antipas (Eoin Macken), Caiaphas (Rufus Sewell), Annas (John Rhys-Davies) and Pontius Pilate (Stephen Moyer).
They had no idea the heavenly fire they were playing with!
Sleiman as Jesus was a choice I’m not sure I would have made. This is a tough role to play because it is not only iconic but beloved so casting is important. He physically takes on the role of a man from the area and time period so that’s the plus. That being said, all together there are tender moments and when he speaks with people it is quite believable.
Galeya as John the Baptist is a character seen more in this film than in past films. It is a good performance as well. Rodney as Simon is a well played character, especially in the boat fishing with Jesus. It is a scene that could easily be between two friends in the way they spoke to one another. Doyle as Judas is not only a sad character but portrayed by Doyle with such pain.
Grammer as King Herod is a short role but sets up the story well enough. Rhys-Davies was almost unrecognizable as Annas but equally shares the duties of a man who thinks his power can crush.
Sewell as Caiaphas is an actor who can turn on the charm when it’s called for and can turn on the callousness just as easily. When he plays this type of role it’s quite easy to follow his character’s willingness to destroy someone.
Other Cast include: Vernon Dobtcheff as Isaiah, Michael D’Cruze as Caspar, Yousef Sweid as Joseph, Badria Timimi as Elizabeth, Dan Mor as Sillaeus, Qouidad Elma as Sarah, Waleed Elgadi as Saul, Tasmin Egerton as Claudia, Stephanie Leonidas as Salome, John Lynch as Nicodemus, Joseph Long as Joseph of Armiatheia and Jkara Ussiva as Mary Magdalene.
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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Killing Jesus” three tubs of popcorn out of five. I am a fan and continue to be of good films done as period pieces. There is good costuming and very good cinematography here which lends itself to the story the film is trying to tell.
There are many films about the death of Jesus and what sets this one slightly apart is telling the story more from the issues of those responsible for the crucifixion. There is definitely politics in play and watching the ping ponging between them all and their reasons is interesting.
The film is based on the New York Times best seller by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard who also participated in KILLING LINCOLN and KILLING KENNEDY.
The Bluray includes the Special Features of What It Takes to Play Jesus, Getting Into Character with Haaz Sleiman, Stephen Moyer on Playing Pontius Pilot, Kelsey Grammer on Playing King Herod, Stephanie Leonidas on Playing Salome, Abhim Galeya on Playing John the Baptist, Eoin Macken on Playing Antipas, Joe Doyal on Playing Judas, John Rhys Davies on Playing Annas, Emmanuelle Chriqui on Playing Herodia, Killing Jesus: The Costumes, The Women’s Costumes, Killing Jesus: The Make-Up, Killing Jesus: Behind the Production, Filming in Morocco, The Director – Chris Menaul, The Power Struggle of the Time.
In the end – this chronicles the life of Jesus.