The Last Temptation of Christ - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Last Temptation of Christ Reviews

Page 1 of 94
Super Reviewer
September 19, 2012
With the Arab world murderously aflame over the depiction of their prophet in some cheesy internet vid I thought it a good time to revisit a work (far more legitimate!) that had Christians similarly upset. Scorcese's main crime here (apart from not putting his lips near any papal rings) appears to not kowtow to any previously tried formula. Men are men, women are women. Somehow though his Christ, full of doubt, fails to elicit real empathy ...
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2012
A retelling of the Gospels focusing on Jesus' internal struggle between flesh and spirit, humanity and divinity, with a twist at the end. An excellent adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis' novel of theological speculation. It's amazing (and frightening) to contemplate that some Christians protested this deeply pious movie when it came out.
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2012
I feel like that, before I write my opinion, that I should clarify something. From the day I was born till I moved from Memphis, I was raised in a Christian home. When I moved I went my own way and became agnostic. As such, I do have a background knowledge on Christianity and going into this film I knew that I would be watching something that is not only made by one of the masters of cinema, but also one of the most controversial films of all time. Plus totally fake as the disclaimer said at the start. I sat in complete silence during the entire two hours and forty four minutes of film and I was left stunned, speechless, and a lost of thought. I had no idea what the hell I saw. I don't know if this is a good film, a bad film, or what.
AS a film, this film is both disturbing and yet beautiful to watch. Mainly this has to deal with how Scorsese deals with the subject matter at hand. Anyone could have turned this film into another Passion Play, but Scorsese shows his true power as a film maker by having us see a version of Jesus that is both much wanted by cinema lovers and disturbing: A human Jesus.
In the Bible, we are taught that Jesus is the son of God and as such is the only true perfect human. This film, however, presents us with a Jesus that has flaws, gives into temptation, and treats him being the son of God as a burden, not as a gift. When I hear of Jesus, and think of the truth of man, THIS is what I saw. But while I adore this presentation of Jesus, I was also disturbed by what I saw. I am use to seeing Jesus as the way we are taught. Then I see this Jesus that questions his purposes, nearly gives into Satan's temptation, and completely life like. Scorsese is a well known Catholic and this film shows his love for the faith as he presents this version of Jesus.
As a film, this film also shocked me with how disturbing the music is. I am a big fan of experimental orchestrations that are known for disturbing it's audience (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross). With this film, the score is... shocking. Scorsese is known for pairing music and image together in a beautiful way, and it is with this film that he has perfected it. Not only does the music compliment what is being shown, but it also enhances it. The score is what kept me wanting to see this film end out and without it, the magic of this movie would be lost.
Harvey Keitel is one of those actors I adore. I liked him in Reservoir Dogs, adored him in Bad Lieutenant, and I love him in this film as Judas. The main reason why is because he portrays Judas as someone that is equally important to Jesus. In history, Judas is the man who betrayed Jesus for money and would later kill himself and burn forever in Hell. Here he is shown as someone that originally wanted to kill Jesus, but then followed him while betraying Jesus at Jesus's request. With this view point, Judas has been the subject to numerous criticism only because he was obeying orders. I know this film is fictitious, but it is a thought that I always wondered.
Willem Dafoe. My God. He steals this movie as he portrays the best image of Jesus I have ever seen. Like with how Scorsese shoots this film, Dafoe makes Jesus someone who is flawed, questioning, with a hint of madness to kick in. This is how I imagined Jesus, and Dafoe does a damned good job. Normally I would lecture on about how great Dafoe was, but his performance is one that only seeing can make you love how this works.
Like with my reaction to this film when I first saw it, I have no idea of how to feel about this film. I know I praise it, but that is through how good the film is. On a personal level, this is not a film or a movie and whoever tells you it is is completely lying. The Last Temptation of Christ is an experience that is unlike any other experience I have sat through. No matter about your religious background, you will be effected by this film. In the end, I am still agnostic but my ideas of religion are changed.
Super Reviewer
October 28, 2011
An extremely challenging film which features a seminal performance by Dafoe and a great score from Peter Gabriel.
Super Reviewer
½ July 2, 2011
A daring, gutsy film concerning the life of Jesus Christ (Willem Dafoe) and his final temptation of living a normal life with a loving wife, kids, and the prospect of growing old on this earth. While definitely a controversial film that could easily be labeled "blasphemy" by many Christians, this is still a remarkable picture. Dafoe's performance is the driving force behind it, while Scorsese's firm direction and feel for melodrama help make this film utterly hypnotizing for most of its running length. Sure, there's some corny dialogue and the last half hour or so loses focus a tad, but this is still a film worth a view.
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2011
An unconventional flesh and blood version of Jesus Christ, from Scorsese.

Not for the week minded.
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2010
WOH WOH WOH WOH!!!! When was David Bowie in this movie!!!??? I completely missed him! I watched the whole thing!? wtf!!!!
Super Reviewer
½ August 1, 2010
Has there ever been a more misunderstood film than Martin Scorcese's The Last Temptation Of Christ? Released amid great controversy and accused of being an offensive and unholy film, the truth of the matter is that it is a deeply reverent work which has the courage to ask challenging questions about the pressures and doubts Jesus must have experienced as the appointed Messiah. It also shows the violence of the times in graphic detail. If viewers consider it blasphemous to explore on film the immense burden of duty that Jesus bore through his life, then they are narrow-minded and ignorant. If people feel that to show the brutality and harshness of life in Roman times is tasteless and inappropriate, then they are guilty of glorifying difficult but factual truths. There is NOTHING offensive about this film. There is, however, much that is challenging.

Jesus (Willem Dafoe), an honest carpenter, saves Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey) from a stoning. Already dimly aware that he is destined to lead an extraordinary life, he soon finds himself being drawn into the role of a religious figurehead. But Jesus finds it hard to accept that he is a Messiah, and as his reputation and following grows he constantly questions if he is a strong enough man to handle the burden of being God's son. After isolating himself in the desert, where he experiences several hallucinations in which he is confronted by visual manifestations of good and evil, Jesus finally concludes that he IS the true son of God and whole-heartedly sets about imparting his love and wisdom to all who'll listen. Later betrayed to the disgruntled Romans by his friend Judas Iscariot (Harvey Keitel), Jesus is crucified. While on the cross, he imagines what his life would have turned out like if he had shied away from his duty as the Messiah and lived life like a mere mortal.

It is this final section of the film that has provoked the most vociferous outrage. The sequence shows Jesus as he slowly dies on the cross, dreaming of an alternative life in which he sins and copulates and hates like all normal people. Many people have criticised the film on the grounds that these scenes are blasphemous. Such claims are nonsense - the film is not saying that Jesus was a sinner, nor that he gave in to temptation of the flesh, nor still that he was a man filled with hate. The film is merely saying that, in such great pain and so close to death while still just a young man, he might - just maybe - have wondered if it was all worth it. At the end of the film, we see Jesus accept his role knowing that his death is the ultimate act of unselfish love, so the film actually is totally in agreement with what all Christians believe. If the film had come to the conclusion that Jesus's whole life was a waste, his death too, then maybe the detractors would've had cause to complain. But how can they possibly be offended by the film as it stands? For goodness sake, it's a film about absolute faith!!! In truth, The Last Temptation Of Christ is an excellent movie. Compellingly acted, beautifully shot on Moroccan locations, and full of telling ideas, it is a work of real depth and power. The accents are sometimes distracting and some of the dialogue occasionally betrays ill-suited modernisms, but apart from these minor drawbacks it is one of the most important and thought-provoking films ever made.
Super Reviewer
July 15, 2010
phewwwwww... finally watched the whole movie. It's so slow that it took me months to watch it entirely. Every time I tried to watch it, it bored me so much after a few that I'd to put it off. But for some strange reason, I kept returning every couple of months from where I'd left off. The last hour or so was fairly bearable as compared to the former (almost unbearable) part. It (the last hour, give or take a few minutes) redeemed to a certain extent the terrible agony I'd to go through the rest of the movie. Hence 3/5 instead of 1.5/5.
Super Reviewer
February 23, 2007
Based upon the novel of the same name, The Last Temptation of Christ provoked a lot of righteous indignation and protest upon its release, although if you look at the film objectively, it is actually quite reverential in its treatment of Jesus and his life. The reinterpretation sees Jesus as a man tortured by the conflict between his flesh and blood desires and fears and his need to overcome them for the sake of spirituality, set within an authentic context. Dafoe's performance makes him a much more believable and "human" Christ who comes across as a kind of social revolutionary and the protestations were no doubt on behalf of the kind of rich religious organisations and televangelists that are the modern equivalent of the temple priests that Christ was protesting against. As an atheist, I would have gone further and dispensed with the mythological mumbo jumbo of the miracles and just tackled Jesus as a man as the rather episodic reinventions of the familiar stories were interesting if a little dry, but the last sequence where he is "tempted" (I won't spoil it by saying how) is absolutely fascinating. It's showing its age a little, but it's a brave and thought provoking film that puts a human face on religious dogma.
Super Reviewer
December 8, 2009
There are so many Movies and TV Shows based upon Jesus life, Jesus last 12 hours etc..And I dont understand why so many remakes.
Super Reviewer
½ May 4, 2009
Martin Scorsese brings Kazantzakis' controversial novel to life in THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. The film's portrayal of Jesus as a human is very effective. and its polemic claims make a lot of sense, making for a cinematic experience that's both unsettling and endearing (and spectacularly photographed).

Willem Dafoe tends to overact in some sequences, but ultimately his performance is great. Harry Dean Stanton makes his mark as Saul/Paul, if only for a few minutes. Harvey Keitel was absolutely terrible.
Super Reviewer
½ February 21, 2008
This is probably the most controversial film I have ever seen. I can understand why, even though I don't fully agree with all of the negative criticism. Yes, I did find myself in disagreement with parts of the movie, but that's a personal issue. This film is fictional. The disclaimer even says it is. It's a cinematic adaptation of a novel that gives a "what if?" scenario that shows Jesus being more human than divine. It's a challenging and thought provoking concept, and is not something that should be dismissed, especially if those who dismiss it don't even actually attempt to watch the film (ie every major public figure who protested the film upon its release). This film was made by religious minded, yes, but with religious backgrounds nonetheless. I did have a hard time getting into the move at first, but I stuck with it, and I'm glad I did. It's a fascinating film filled with good performances, great direction, wonderful cinematography, and stunning music. It's a gutsy film, and I applaud all who took part in it. It's a shame that people for whatever reason won't give this a shot. The Da Vinci Code raised similar questions, and that was not cast off nearly as much as this film. What gives? Is it because this film is more serious and sincere? Please give this film a shot. Even if you don't like it, and disagree with it (even though it is fictional), that's no reason to dismiss something just because it presents a side to a story that no one it seems likes or wants to talk about. I say there's nothing to lose. Is it really that unreasonable to think that Jesus didn't have doubts and fears, and wrestled with temptation? I don't really think so.
Super Reviewer
½ April 21, 2007
I'm an atheist.

Hands down the best portrayal of Jesus ever committed to screen. Defoe's performance is magnificent as is the rest of the cast(although Keitel is a bit rubbish).
Super Reviewer
½ February 28, 2007
The best film on the life of Jesus Christ (next to Pasolini's "The Gospel According to St. Matthew"); mainly because he is portrayed as a person and not a symbol.
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2007
A masterpiece for every conflicted Cathoholic.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2006
Good religious movies (actually religious movies in general) freak me out. This especially freaked me out so therefore it is great. Admittedly the controversy made a star out of Last Temptation of Christ (and wrongfully so--what was the big deal?) but from a filmmaking standpoint it's very interesting. Martin Scorsese makes some very interesting (in most cases that means weird) casting choices (Harvey Keitel, Victor Argo, David Bowie, Verna Bloom and... HARRY DEAN STANTON...?) while portraying Jesus with doubt, anger and everything else human. Scorsese also borrows some pages out of the Mario Bava directorial handbook with the "alternate life" sequence and scenes throughout the movie. Peter Gabriel's score is every bit as great as this movie is. And that segue from the final shot to the credits gets me every time and I have no idea why.
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2007
I had to go thru protesting Catholics swinging Rosaries, and I still liked the movie -- There should have been a connection made with The DaVinci Codes when It came out, because they are related!!! This one was better, I think --
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2007
Toughest Jesus ever!
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2007
A fascinating movie.
A great "What if...?"
The settings and characters were believable, until the last third, where the story went tangential from what we knew. The movie then catapulted us to unknown territory. The message at the end is a triumph for Christians. The last frames were creepy. Satan was frightening in this movie.

Willem Dafoe was google-eyed and vulnerable in the role of Christ. It was too cool seeing David Bowie as Pilate. Mary could've been sexier if she didn't have tattoos all over her body. The disciples were well-cast. Judas was funny and insightful. I really got into this movie in its time; people tried to stop us from seeing it in the lineup.
Page 1 of 94