Last night, I saw the epic 2016 version of Ben-Hur in 3-D. While the film has mostly been disparaged by critics, I thought it was excellent — and not just for its outstanding cinematography and special effects.
Based on the bestselling novel, Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, the film tells the story of a Jewish prince whose family is betrayed by his adopted Roman brother, after he is falsely accused of sedition. These events unfold in parallel with the ministry and ultimate crucifixion of Jesus Christ, played by Rodrigo Santoro.
While most critics have paid homage to the spectacular climax of the film, if nothing else, I was just as moved by its themes of love, betrayal, redemption, hope, and faith. It was also striking to witness the utter brutality of the Romans (just as in The Passion of the Christ), borne of a lust for power and a thirst for blood. Morgan Freeman, the only actor I recognized, turned in another compelling performance as Sheik Ilderim. I especially loved the scene in which he advises the former galley slave, Ben-Hur, to beat the Romans the only way he can.
Intertwining history, human fallibility, and spirituality with beautiful scenery, breathtaking special effects, and excellent acting, Ben-Hur is a must-see film…preferably in 3-D.
I had the chance to watch this incredible film the other night, based on my mom’s recommendation. With all of the ugliness in the world, it was a refreshing reminder that miracles are all around us and a Higher Power is in charge.
Jennifer Garner turned in an outstanding performance, as did the entire cast, especially young actress Kylie Rogers, who plays Annabel.
And here’s an interview with the real life Christie and Annabel.
In today’s crazy political and social climate, I’ll take many more films like this, please.
Masterful storytelling, well-defined characters, witty dialogue, perfectly placed elements of comic relief, and an unpredictable plot make The Violet Crow an entertaining and irresistible read. I fell in love with psychic Bruno X the second he burst onto the scene, having been hired by the police department mainly to placate an overly intrusive, sensationalistic media to help solve a murder in the fictional South Jersey suburb of Gardenfield. What begins as a joke eventually vindicates unlikely hero Bruno as he employs Jewish mysticism, mind-reading, and meditation to secure justice for the victims. Along the way, he develops a close friendship with the chief of police and other officers assigned to the case as they attempt to follow the clues and find the guilty — all while being dogged by the relentless P.C.Cromwell, a perfect characterization of today’s morally bankrupt media.
The author weaves several interesting subplots around the main plot, which keeps you guessing until the end. As a native of the Philadelphia area (though I haven’t lived there in two decades), I laughed out loud at his descriptions of South Jersey dialects and employment of Yiddish words and phrases, and enjoyed the book’s familiar settings including Caesar’s in Atlantic City. I also appreciated the author’s realistic portrayal of psychic ability. Most of all, I hope he’s planning a series around Bruno X because he’s one of the most endearing, unique characters I’ve come across in modern literature. Looking forward to Bruno’s future adventures!