The film by screenwriters Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett and director Garth Davis, proposes an audacious task: to rescue Maria Magdalena from the image she had (or has) as a prostitute. However, it ends by embracing a solemn, gentle and slow Christian piety. The novelty lies in three claims that seem to have been made more for ideological reasons than for historical rigor: from the title, the protagonism of Mary Magdalene is announced, who becomes the first apostle of Jesus Christ and his lover; the second is to have a black San Pedro; and the third, a Judas who shows such a strong passion that leads him to be wrong. From the beginning, with some underwater images that suppose a metaphor not clarified more than by the voice in off and an inexplicable repudiation, the film is nonsense. That is to say, I do not understand what the filmmaker, Garth Davis, wanted to do with Mary Magdalene, and I think he has not succeeded.
The drama suggests that Mary Magdalene was a fiercely intelligent and witty woman who rejected the masculine norms of marriage and children and insisted followed Jesus. Due to her actions she was condemned as crazy and possessed. When she takes her new place among the apostles, the film suggests that she does become the favorite pupil. But all this means that Mary Magdalene looks at Jesus, who gives back a lot of infinite smiles, while their dialogue is silenced and restrained, making it boring.
The film has some interesting ideas: ethnicity, Jesus as a protest movement and even about feminism. But the overall effect is bad, boring, Rooney Mara's Mary Magdalene is a strangely flattering presence in the movie that bears her name. The main culprits in this are the scenes of Mara with Joaquín Phoenix (Jesus). Their characters share a literary dialogue but not sufficiently dramatic to engage. Davis does not find any kind of drama or chemistry in the relationship, which is quite surprising given that it is supposedly the best story ever told (and that Phoenix and Mara are supposedly a real-life couple). Unfortunately, this remake does not reach greatness, despite having a lot of Mediterranean murmurs from a cast of Greek, French and Israeli actors (including Ariane Labed, Tcheky Karyo, Denis Menochet, Lubna Azabal, Lior Raz, Fairy Yaron) . Even actors of the stature of Chiwitel Ejiofor can not make this movie worthwhile.
The film is beautifully made by Australian cinematographer Greig Fraser. The music is by the late Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson in collaboration with Hildur Gudnadottir, but even his strings are used too often to cover the lack of tension on the screen.
It is a new version of the biggest story periodically told by the cinema, perhaps the only story that admits spoilers without bothering others. Its original touch, and for the first time female, is to transfer the role of the story to Mary Magdalene, elusive figure: sometimes silenced, sometimes adulteress or prostitute
The 120 minutes of footage are summarized in a curious idea and an absolutely insufferable development. You can fall asleep several times on the way of the Messiah to Jerusalem