The MUST-READ 2016 'Ben-Hur' Review (NO SPOILERS)
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The 2016 "Ben-Hur" remake wows with an adrenaline-inducing chariot race and heartbreaking tale of betrayal.
"Ben-Hur" is a wonderful tale of betrayal, revenge and redemption.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The remake of classic film "Ben-Hur" maintains a similar story line to the 1959 version but portrays an updated version perfect for the modern audience.
"Ben-Hur" revealed life for civilizations allowed to stand following Rome's occupation. Zealots gathered to fight while Jews were content to live in temporary peace.
Amid the effects of Rome's laws, Judah Ben-Hur sees his family betrayed by a trusted and loved person (a friend in the classic and adopted brother in the remake).
Judah is sent to the galley of a ship, where he spends the majority of his time being whipped, rowing the war ship, wondering what became of his family and dreaming of revenge.
Without comparing the newer film to the original from here on out, "Ben-Hur" successfully introduced characters and gave them each a personality of their own.
Even the zealot, who appeared in random scenes throughout the film, was a point of interest who later came into play.
Jesus' role was both immediately recognizable and skillfully intertwined in Judah's story without stealing the show.
Morgan Freeman's character was also well-employed. One major concern with Freeman's role was whether it would take the limelight from Judah or his brother Messala but it didn't.
Freeman's role was perfectly executed as a powerful and wise character who enabled Judah to face his brother. Freeman's performance was a calm, almost passive allowance for Jack Huston's Judah Ben-Hur to retain the role as the protagonist.
The entire film builds up to the moment when Judah finally faces Messala in an all-or-nothing chariot race.
The race reveals how bloody and gruesome entertainment was in Rome as people cheered while racers died and horses bolted in every direction.
The chaos left its audience completely enthralled. Pulses quickened, sweat broke out on palms and the tiny hairs on the back of necks began to stand as one question raced through everyone's minds:
Who will win?
The chariot race, much like in the original, was the pièce de rĂ©sistance of the film and the tension slowly building throughout the entire movie finally finds its release.
If you're looking to see a film refusing to drown its audience in religion but quietly points to Christ, this is the one for you.
The PG-13 rating is due to the violence seen throughout and there are allusions to very graphic scenes but these are few and lost in dense dialogue.
Producer Roma Downey revealed the work that went into the making of the film included actors who trained to do their own stunts, several GoPro cameras and amazing special effects.
The end result? A visually stunning film, beautiful scenery and emotionally-driven scenes of faith, hatred, loss, revenge, pain and redemption.
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