The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John (2003)
Movie InfoVeteran British filmmaker Philip Saville directs the religious epic The Gospel of John, a production of the Canadian company Visual Bible International. This three-hour drama attempts to accurately follow the Gospel According to John, written sometime during the first century. The gospel contains four segments: an introduction to the nature of Jesus Christ; testimony by disciples and the presence of miracles; the Last Supper and crucifixion; and the appearance of the risen Christ. Henry Ian Cusick plays Jesus and Christopher Plummer provides voice-over narration. The Gospel of John was shown in a special presentation at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John
It's a straightforward, unimaginative narrative, and thus not very memorable.
The sad truth is that director Philip Saville and writer John Goldsmith have made a picture book rather than a film, one that leans so heavily on Christopher Plummer's placid voice-over narration as to be cinematically inert.
Events unfold as chronological vignettes, and there's little room for screenwriter John Goldsmith to reimagine scenes to mine their full dramatic potential.
I found this Gospel long, dull and, for the most part, acted without apparent inspiration.
Although it might test the patience of the non-believer, for those who take their Christianity seriously, this probably is worth seeing.
The "Word made flesh" has now become the Word made visible. In an age of visuals, it might just attract many who would never take the time to read John's gospel.
...a mild, willfully inoffensive film focusing on Jesus' message of love.
A slugglishly painful, uninteresting film that might be of value to New Testament students who don't like to read words unless they come with pictures.
Whatever this is, it sure isn't cinema. There's no adaptation, no reconfiguration of the material from one medium to another.
Henry Ian Cusick creates a persuasive Jesus, a savior as happy as often as he is solemn.
An artful, well-made production.
Despite claims to the contrary, The Gospel does come off as a three-hour long Sunday School lesson.
Emphasis on maintaining the text 'as is' universally renders the effort into an essentially passionless Bible story
as for the text itself that has the Jews egging Pilate on, well, it is what it is. And that would be less than philo-semetic.
The performances are flat and lifeless (Cusick may look the part, but he has no real charisma), and even Christopher Plummer, as narrator, is less than lively, reading in an all too reverent monotone, suggesting even he's having a hard time staying awake.
All due respect to the Bible, but just because a book is good doesn't mean it can be transferred directly to the screen without some streamlining, adapting and adjusting.
In the end, The Gospel of John opts for safe ground. Jesus' lines are delivered with Shakespearean flair and the villains are all familiar.
A word-for-word adaptation of the New Testament book ... Nothing was added and nothing was omitted.
Audience Reviews for The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John
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