Film Reviews, Short Review

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

3.5/4

Martin Scorsese’s reconstruction of New Yo…sorry I meant Roman-era Judea is clearly one of his most personal and unique film projects. There are some strange decisions, such as casting actors like Harvey Keitel, Harry Dean Stanton, and John Lurie in various roles, all faces which look much more at home in Manhattan than in Jerusalem. Additionally, The Last Temptation of Christ‘s low budget clearly forced Scorsese to produce a much more streamlined, visually austere film than is usual for the man’s tastes. Ultimately however, it works, sometimes in spite of itself. As a rumination on the dual human and Godlike nature of Christ, as well as Scorsese’s own relationship with his Catholic upbringing (and screenwriter Paul Schrader’s severe Calvinist upbringing too), The Last Temptation of Christ remains one of Scorsese’s most interesting and least commercial films, a deeply personal tangent precluding one of the most commercial phases of his career (Goodfellas and Cape Fear were to be his next two features), and it’s all the better for it.

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