Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA/Israel/Germany, 2001. Avalanche Films, Compass Productions, Diamant Cohen Productions, Green Moon Productions, Helkon Media, MDP Worldwide. Screenplay by Jonas McCord, based on the novel by Richard Sapir. Cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond. Produced by Rudy Cohen. Music by Serge Colbert. Production Design by Allan Starski. Costume Design by Caroline Harris. Film Editing by Alain Jakubowicz, Lesley Walker.
Clever, involving thriller that raises many questions and deals with them a bit too patly, but not overly so. Antonio Banderas plays an El Salvadorean Catholic priest with a military background who is commissioned by the Vatican to travel to Jerusalem and investigate the findings of an Israeli archaeologist (Olivia Williams). She has unearthed an ancient tomb dating around 32 CE in which a body whose remains match the exact story of Christ’s death has been found, a discovery which threatens the entire world of religion as we know it. Banderas arrives with skepticism, fully understanding the requirements of the Vatican regardless of his personal beliefs in the validity of the find, while Williams is threatened by the heated political situation between Israel and Palestine that is about to go apocalyptic. Fascinating examination of an explosive subject matter, conforming sometimes too much to the rigours of the genre (including a very convenient rescue in the final climax), but also featuring a very satisfying conclusion that says a lot about the relationship between faith and the pursuit of absolute truth. Great performances, rapid-paced direction and intelligent dialogue.