To put the story of the life of Jesus on the big screen is no easy feat.
As the vision of award-winning co-producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, it is clear that the dynamic husband and wife team were intent on using all their powerful resources to create an epic film with the highest level of production value. From the cinematography to the Academy-worthy acting to the beautiful musical score, Downey and Burnett have given the world a gift.
Son of God is the most evangelistic movie ever produced for this generation. This major motion picture is authentic, exciting and resonates on an emotional level with audiences of every age.
Burnett is the esteemed producer of such top-ranked TV shows as The Voice, Shark Tank and Survivor. He was named by Time Magazine as one of the world’s most influential people. Downey is most recognized for her Emmy-nominated role as Monica in Touched By an Angel. Burnett and Downey also co-produced the record-breaking miniseries, The Bible released by 20th Century Fox, which was seen by over a hundred million viewers.
Filmed from beginning to end, paying special attention to detail, and giving the highest respect for the Biblical accounts, Burnett explained in a recent press release “There was no way possible to film every significant event recorded in the gospels. Therefore, we selected very specific scenes from the life of Jesus to clearly convey the character and nature of Jesus as the one, true, Son of God.”
This motion picture is the epic story of the life of Jesus Christ (portrayed brilliantly by Portuguese actor Diogo Margado) as told through the eyes and experiences of the apostle John (played by Sebastian Knapp). The very clever opening sequence features the powerful words from John 1, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.” The film ends with John again, reflecting over the experiences of his life as the lone-surviving disciple and recognizing the magnitude of his call to record the events of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension, which will one day become John’s lasting legacy.
The storyline has the unlimited depth and breadth of an action epic film. Although the cinematography is not quite to the scale of The Passion of Christ, the scenes are rich with symbolism, powerful in performance, and filled with brilliant special effects. The orchestral score from Oscar®-winner Hans Zimmer at times leaves you sitting on the edge of your seat while drawing you into the heart of the story.
The casting of Award-winning actor Diogo Morgado was brilliant. He beautifully portrays Jesus as the gentle and meek yet strong and wise Son of God. From the kindness and compassion in his eyes to the warmth and perfection of his smile, Morgado captures the very essence and character of how most of us would envision Jesus. He carries the film with a stunning performance filled with powerful emotion, charisma and a transcendent love for humanity.
Peter (played by Darwin Shaw) brings authenticity to his role as he gives up everything to follow Jesus. Shaw infuses the role of Peter with rich loyalty, servitude and joy. Roma Downey does a beautiful job in the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus. At every turn Downey pulls the audience in with her compelling expression of a mother’s deep and endless love for her son. She triumphs in the role as she expresses the sheer horror and agony of witnessing her beloved son tortured, mocked and crucified. She infuses passion into the most challenging scenes with the sheer emotion of her facial expressions, eyes and the movements of her hands.
Another stroke of genius casting was Greg Hicks in the role of Pilate. Hicks gives a powerful performance as a Roman general who oozes a stone cold inner rage, and a taste for violence. Yet Hicks allows the audience to see beneath his mask and share his innermost vulnerability as he wrestles with his right to condemn Jesus.
See the trailer:
Son of God spans Jesus’ life as we meet him at his humble birth, then following, in somewhat quick succession, we see Jesus in the boat with Peter, restoring a paralytic, feeding the 5,000, redeeming an adulterous woman, and walking on water. One after the other we see the many miracles of Jesus come to life. Satan does not appear physically in the film yet his presence is definitely sensed in the midst of it all as he creates chaos, provokes doubt, and tempts and capitalizes on the weaknesses of mankind.
We are reminded of the depth of Jesus’ sacrifice and unending love for all mankind as we follow him through his teachings, bear witness to his crucifixion, and ultimately celebrate his resurrection. With his resurrection comes conviction yet a reason for forgiveness and a keen understanding of the gift of grace ushered in through the freedom of faith.
Rich with symbolism, toward the end of the film, two trees are depicted as Jesus makes his way through the streets to the cross. One foreshadows the emptiness and total devastation of impending darkness while the other reflects the light of God’s glory and the promise of eternity. Paralleling the two options always on the table: one representing Heaven and the other Hell… two options but only one choice leads to salvation. We are given the free will to decide.
I highly recommend Son of God. I found myself moved spiritually and convicted to share the gospel within the depths of my soul as I watched this movie. The brutality of the crucifixion and the gravity of his grace remind me of the infinite love Jesus has for all of us. I felt renewed and redeemed by this film.
Son of God marks the first major motion picture depicting the life of Jesus since the release ten years ago of The Passion of the Christ. It should captivate the hearts of Christian moviegoers and offer opportunity for engagement with their non-believing or unchurched friends. It carries the endorsements of such noteworthy pastors and spiritual leaders such as T. D. Jakes, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Samuel Rodriguez and the Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez.
Careful detail is given to the Biblical accounts in the scenes leading up to the trial and finally crucifixion of Jesus. During the scene of the impending stoning of the adulterous woman, there is an element of uncertainty and tension that hangs in the air as to the final outcome. One may choose to prepare children for this scene prior to viewing the film. Jesus picks up the stone and asks the question, “Who is without sin among you?” No stone is cast and the woman finds restoration, forgiveness, and redemption through Jesus mercy.
In the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus is betrayed with a kiss by Judas (played by Joe Wredden) the scene turns somewhat violent. Peter, in defense of Jesus, grabs his sword and severs the ear of the soldier. Blood is scene pouring from the injured soldier before Jesus places his hand over the missing ear and performs a miracle of healing.
If you choose to let your children see this film, there are graphically violent moments during the scenes of Jesus’ beating leading up to his suffering and crucifixion on the cross. It is highly recommended you prepare them for the emotional magnitude of this scene as it is difficult to witness for all viewers.
For all others, this is a must-see movie with a power-packed message. Each episode is prefaced with the note, “it endeavors to stay true to the spirit of the book.” It will compel you to reflect upon your commitment to Christ, and in the end to renew your spiritual journey. It will give you a reason to engage in conversation with the unchurched and unbeliever.
Son of God will encourage and enable ministry to happen as it provides an opportunity to reach non-believers and unchurched people for Christ. As the entire ministry of Jesus is depicted, this film invites the church in to feel and live like a disciple and the unchurched to experience Jesus’ love and grace.
All who see it should ask themselves the question, ‘Who Do You Say I Am?’ The continued growth of the media buzz and publicity over these past few weeks will attract people to theaters. It is important to prepare and be ready to engage afterward with others in conversations that lead to the cross.
Some questions to consider when discussing this movie:
- What do you think about Peter’s decision to leave everything and follow Jesus?
- When Jesus asked for the person without sin to throw the first stone at the adulterous woman, what went through your mind? Do you think all sin is really equal?
- Was it fair for a man who never did even one thing wrong to be sentenced to death? Why do you think he went to the cross willingly?
- What struck you most about Jesus words to the thief on the cross?
- Why does Jesus resurrection matter so much to you and me?
- Are you willing to give Jesus your heart now that you know he can and will change the course of your life for forever?
Son of God is epic, real, engaging, and life-changing. It is a must see for everyone. I encourage you to give two hours of your time to see Son of God. It will change your life!
Son of God is available on Amazon on DVD or Blu-Ray.