Another in a long list of dramatic gospel films, but even late Rossellini with a large bankroll couldn't pull it off. Seemed as if he didn't want to offend any particular viewpoint, and so in the end gave us no unique vision at all, but a by-the-numbers visual New Testament, that's if you discount the OT prequel scenes from Samuel which open the shebang. It's Humanist hagiography for Christ, vitriol for the Jews.
I am not insensitive to IL MESSIA's austere beauty and prefer the film by far to any tacky DeMillian bombast, Scorsesian guilty-Catholic "reimagining," or Gibsonian sadism, but it comes up short all the same. The deemphasizing of dramas and miracles causes it to feel lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, like. Is IL MESSIA, like Pasolini's, a "Jesus film for Marxists"? If so, what for? They have their own Messiah.