Friday, 22 July 2011

Film Review - Ben-Hur

Release: 1959
Director: William Wyler
Starring: Charlton Heston

Fair play, this was a long film.. So long you have to turn the DVD over in the middle of the film. Seriously, how many films have an intermission?

Length aside (hurr hurr) this was a brilliant classic film. Heston as a Jew isn't the most obvious casting choice, but I'm not fussy. He plays a Jewish prince, Judah Ben-Hur, who gets punished by his Roman childhood friend, and ends up becoming a slave. That one line summary is about an hour of the film by the way.

He somehow survives being a rower on a slave barge for years on pure grit alone, and eventually saves the life of his Roman keeper. The man is shocked by Ben-Hur's compassion and takes him on a servant of his House. Eventually he becomes the Master of the House and returns to his homeland as a Roman noble, ready to face down the man who sent him to his death.

The most famous scene of the film is the final chariot race, and it's a fantastic highly tense sequence. Fairplay it's two and a half hours into the film, and by that point I was well behind Ben-Hur.

The final act of the film involves Jesus, who is being led through the city with his cross over his shoulder. Ben-Hur recognises him as a man who gave him water when he was at his most desperate, and so Ben-Hur tries to help him but is pushed back by the Centurions. The crucifixion scene is moving, and is the primary focus of the film in a way, as Jesus' holiness affects all those in attendance, and even curse Ben-Hur's mother and sister of leprosy. Definitely a time to celebrate the man who died for our sins.

I didn't expect to enjoy the film as much as I did. It was proper class


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