I tell you, chaos rules, and I am ITS PRINCE!” the demon growls.
The whole affair feels more promising than presentable, with unruly costumes and a Holy Land where no one sweats and no garment ever seems to get dirty.
The direction, by Cyrus Nowrasteh (“The Stoning of Soroya M.”) lacks urgency or art. The performances are, for the most part, emotionally flat.
Believers may relish hearing “The Lord’s Prayer” chanted as the refugee family makes its way through a gauntlet of crucified criminals, or in catching Sarah (Jane Lapotaire) pepper her speech with quotations from The King James Version.
But discriminating movie-goers will do their due diligence and compare “The Young Messiah” to “Risen,” and wonder why Focus Features didn’t spend a little more money and get it right.
The Dove Take
“The Young Messiah” has little urgency to its chase, and bloodless crucifixions on crosses that look like props from community theater Passion Plays.
But it does have a couple of electric moments. Jesus, tested by rabbis who would be his teacher, flummoxes them with his Torah knowledge and seven year old logic. And in confronting the terror (Satan) that only he sees, Jesus faces his first Real test — evil that wants to thwart his destiny.