Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Ben-Hur (1959)

This Biblical epic follows Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur a Jewish Prince that ends up being double crossed by his Roman friend Messala played by Stephen Boyd. You follow him from the slave ships to the arena and then to the final climactic Chariot race. Through the film he comes into contact with a young Rabi known as Jesus and he is impacted by these meetings. Through the time he is deeply concerned with what has happened to his family who were convicted with him.

Directed by William Wylder this story is epic in both scale and length at over 3 hours viewing it does take something to keep you in place for that length of time. And while it is far to long for any film it is definitely worth watching. The acting and scenery is brilliant and you really believe everything that is being portrayed, it follows Ben-Hur on his quest for revenge and gives you an impression of the time. There are many flaws in the historical accuracy but I think it all works well to give you a massive film that is rewarding.

This is a film that is over 50 years old and there is a pacing issue that I think many modern cinema watchers will struggle with, in these times of ADH mentalities, I can imagine many people not enjoying this. What I would recommend is taking the opportunity to pause it, there is a lovely break in the middle. Overall this is a strong recommend a 4 star worth watching.

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