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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Henry Ian Cusick is Jesus

(see part 2 of my review here)

Latest movie from the library is the 2003 film The Gospel of John. As I wrote earlier, I've been watching Lost, and I noticed that the actor who plays Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) was also in a Jesus movie, so I decided to give it a try. Here's a little about the film from Wikipedia ....

This three-hour epic feature film follows John's Gospel precisely, without additions to the story from other Gospels, nor omission of complex passages. This film was created by a constituency of artists from Canada and the United Kingdom, along with academic and theological consultants from around the world. The cast was selected primarily from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and Soulpepper Theatre Company, as well as Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre. The musical score, composed by Jeff Danna and created for the film, is partially based on the music of the Biblical period. The film was produced by Visual Bible International. The film is narrated by Christopher Plummer and stars Scottish-Peruvian actor Henry Ian Cusick as Jesus.

It could be said that the gospel of John is the most anti-Jewish of all the gospels ... one of the things I don't like about it ... and this is why the very beginning of the film shows this statement ....

The Gospel of John was written two generations after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is set in a time when the Roman empire controlled Jerusalem. Although crucifixion was the preferred Roman method of punishment, it was not one sanctioned by Jewish law. Jesus and all His early followers were Jewish. The Gospel reflects a period of unprecedented polemic and antagonism between the emerging church and the religious establishment of the Jewish people. This film is a faithful presentation of that Gospel.

The movie is long and I'm only about a third of the way through. It's odd, yes ... there's the almost constant over-voice of the actual text, but after a while I wasn't distracted by it much. I was worried that whenever I looked at this Jesus, I'd see Desmond Hume :) but that worry also receded as the film progressed - Cusick makes a really good Jesus! I was worried too that I wouldn't like the movie because I'm not a fan of some of the stuff the gospel of John *says* but I do like many of the encounters Jesus has in the gospel of John, especially those with women (Women in the Fourth Gospel/Felix Just SJ), and it was neat to see some of these portrayed, like Jesus and the woman at the well ...

For a more nuanced review, check out Ben Witherington's article in Christianity Today - The Gospel of John.

And you can apparently watch the whole movie on YouTube. Here below is part 2 of 12 which begins at the point when the people attending the wedding at Cana taste the wine Jesus has made out of water, and ends with him talking to the Samaritan woman at the well ......


Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Thanks, Crystal! I'll have to watch this one... I know John is very tough to take sometimes... for instance, I don't know if I care for the Jesus I saw in the clearing of the temple...

8:30 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Denny,

Yes, that wasn't my favorite part either. For me it was hard to like him when he seemed always so positive he was right (and divine) and that everyone else who didn't agree with him doomed - I guess it could have been that way, but the more humble Jesus in that Jeremy Sisto movie seemed easier to bear.

1:31 PM  
Blogger a70eezchild said...

There is a 3-hour and a 2-hour version of The Gospel of John. What is notable about this film, besides Ian Cusick's phenomenal performance, and Jeff Danna's amazing score (I'm biased, that's true) is that it is a word-for-word adaptation of John's Gospel. Of course there was criticism of which version was used, etc. But it's a great teaching tool, and it's a very beautiful film.

6:40 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


Thanks for the comment. I saw the 3 hour version. I wonder what was taken out of the 2 hour version? I too thought Cusick was very good as Jesus. And it was really intersting to hear/see the whole gospel enacted instead of just bits as in other films.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Jenifar said...

Thank you, Crystal! I will have to watch this one...As I am quiet new in Jewish, looking around for some Jewish information> Got something important here. Nice to get it.
Have you seen this video It helped me get over my internal anger.

4:27 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


I hope you like it. Unfortunately, the gospel of John is probably the most anti-Jewish of the gospels - the makers of the movie tried to moderate that but they could only do so much.

I visit a blog you might like - Jerusalem Hills Daily Photo ...

Thanks for the video link. I do think forgiveness is a good thing, but sometimes hurt and anger are the most emotionally honest rsponses to a bad situation. It's really uncomfortable for others to be around an angry or hurt person, and I think sometimes they suggest forgiveness as much for their own benefit as for the victim's. I'm not very good at forgivenss myself, I guess.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emotions are there because God put them inside of us, and most be felt otherwise will be a robots. Nevertheless we have mind and a spirit. We are not supose to let our emotions to lead us but to help us to be more compassionate and understand us and others better as we fail many times as we relate with others. Forgiveness can be difficult but not impossible, Jesus give us the grace to do it, we make the decision to forgive, its not about uour feelings but your conviction that you are not perfect and hurt others and let them down many times , consciously and unconsciously, even we dont want to. Forgiveness to other people allow us to receive the forgiveness of God as well, thats one of the requirements He does to everyone. Forgiveness let you live with a healthy heart, relationships, avoid to grow bitter, have anger that become hate, and do horrible revenges. Also forgiveness promotes health emotionally and physically, a lot of illness are related to that.
Besides I dont see this Gospel anti-jewish but challenging to the devote jew maybe. Gospels are Gods Word to mankind and His own people. God only hates sin, evil, and the like but never His Chosen People. He loves them and always will! Not matter what... Shalom to you.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this movie so much, the actor does the best performance of Jesus from all movies, because he seems more real and not so tight as other versions where even the hair look so fake. Also the production, accuracy and interpretation is awesome. Very anointed work. May God bless them all who participated in this art work come alive, hope many could see it!!!

1:38 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Shalom, and thanks for the comment :)

2:59 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

If you like a Jesus movie where he seems very human, you might like "Jesus" with Jeremy Sisto. I really liked it ...

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In deed its a very beautiful movie, easy way of teaching... It makes easy to understand what is written in Johns bible. I am not Christian but the way it is presented... I know it is all exact as its in Bible. That's more precious. No any false additional words, or drama added for making Movie format.. ITS PURE!.. It is as it is.. That's very very nice.. It made many thing explained, when reading Bible new American stranded. and i hold the book and seen the movie.. I felt so happy that i could understand bit more about it..
The only word about it, its Beautiful! Make thinking more deep..
The effort, the way its done, its very very true to Bible and that very strong point of it.. For some one like me who, has no background, with completely blank slate.. without any positive negative thoughts of it.. This is a treasure. Love this felt very near to heart!

Thanks for such a great efforts !!

5:08 PM  

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