This depiction of the passion of Christ as interpreted by the Apostle John sorely lacks spirit. Not only is it missing the considerable star power of epics such as The Ten Commandments, but it's so rigid, it's almost a sin. Running three hours, director Philip Saville's film employs every word of the gospel, using the Good News Bible's English translation.
That doesn't leave much room for naturalistic dialogue and makes for a heavy journey with much repetition, lapses in clarity and occasional contradiction. Dialogue is overlayed with ample narration, courtesy of the crisp, authoritative Christopher Plummer, the voice of John. And Jesus (Henry Ian Cusick) is depicted not as a meek lamb but rather as a domineering, even arrogant, shepherd. This one's only for those who just can't wait for Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ.