A scene from “Son of God” (Photo: Casey Crafford, 20th Century Fox)
The first half of Son of God features an upbeat and kindly Jesus spreading the good word in familiar, if occasionally over-simplified, biblical phraseology.
Then things get bloody — though not quite as graphic as in 2004′s The Passion of the Christ — when Jesus is seized, beaten and crucified. The production values are modest and the special effects uneven in a repurposed and condensed version (** out of four; rated PG-13; opens Friday nationwide) of the History Channel’s miniseries The Bible. (That series drew flack for casting an actor who resembled President Obama in the role of Satan. The film sidesteps any hint of controversy by keeping the devil out of this story.)
Son of God takes no real chances, opting for a moderately involving re-telling of an oft-told story.
As portrayed by Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado Jesus resembles a brown-eyed Brad Pitt. With his gleaming smile, he has the clean-cut, chiseled good looks of a model, even with the long, wavy hair, dusty robes and beard. Smiling beatifically seems to come easily to Morgado, who at times has a laid-back surfer vibe. It’s undoubtedly a daunting role, and Morgado captures the gentle benevolence associated with the messianic figure. He doesn’t, however, project the authority, gravitas or depth of a spiritual leader.
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SOURCE: Claudia Puig
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