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Review: Ben-Hur A Throwback To Classic Cinema

Ben-Hur is released in theaters this Friday by Paramount Pictures. The film stars Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro and directed by Timur Bekmambetov and is third time the story will make it to the big screen.

The film is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army.  Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery.  After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.  Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.  Also starring Morgan Freeman and Rodrigo Santoro.

This movie has hints of classic cinema and gives you the feel of such a huge scope in the story telling. A completely different take on the film in comparison to the 1959 version. In this version of the film the growth of the main character Judah from boy to man is what carries the film along without being blasted with the religious under tones.

Allowing it to character to all audiences and all faiths. Huston plays the role great from the beginning of the movie showing a caring person who goes with the status quo, to a revenge filled man and ending the film with compassion and forgiveness over the incidents that occur.

Ilderim, played by Morgan Freeman, plays a pivotal part in the middle of the film as he is that mentor to Ben-Hur in preparing him not only for the chariot races but also lesson that help him grow. Tobby Kebbell as Messala plays the role so well as the torn person who was welcomed into Ben-Hur’s family and growing up as brothers when life is good into the transition of a soldier and his growth in allegiance in the Roman Empire.

Nazanin Boniadi as Ester is an interesting role and play a pivotal part in the transition of Ben-Hur. From the moment they meet Jesus played by Rodrigo Santoro to her deciding to follow him in faith.

Overall, I enjoyed the film from beginning to end. The story progression and of course the chariot race was very enjoyable. The screening of the film I attended was in 3D and to be honest this is one film that 3D is not necessary. It really needed that old school feel when you sit in the theaters to match the film. It really is a throwback to that classic cinema with a modern take. This version of the film is not like the William Wyler version so I would go it expecting that it is a different take on the movie. The screen play by Keith R. Clarke  & John Ridley was great. The visual effects in parts of the battle at sea at times seem very animated but the stunts are great throughout the movie.

If your looking for a film to watch this weekend I would recommend it. It has a runtime of 124 minutes and do not see it in 3D it does not really add to the movie. As always go see it for yourself and let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section.

MUSE Rating: 3.8 out of 5

 

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Michael Sandoval

Michael created MUSE/MUSE TV after a career in professional sports and journalism. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Don Bosco Technical Institute in which he studied Electronics and Computer Science and California State University, Fullerton in which he graduated with a degree from the College of Communication in Journalism. He is a big Foo Fighters fan, loves Star Wars and loves photography. Member of the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society.
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