Movie Review: Ben-Hur


Ben-Hur Poster (Image from Google)



A big howdy to all you who read my blog.

So this whole week I’ve been thinking on what to write on the blog that is both interesting and also reflective of the year. Fat chance I got to watch a movie and fast forward I thought to myself why not write a review.

Armed with my pen and notebook I jotted some of the cool stuff I would love to share with you on this blog.

Don’t mind that handwriting. It was done in a hurry (Also don’t tell me I’m the only one who has a pen and paper while watching a movie- OK, I might have over done it)

Mind you this is my first review although I have verbally done so a countless times before. That said, I will put my quips here and there and of course no spoilers for those who are yet to see it. This is just my way to intrigue you and get you to watch it.

But before I start, the internet is full of the negative reviews it got also the fact that it didn’t do well on its release day (which was in August 9 this year). Just so you know I read those reviews after watching it so that it doesn’t spoil the show for me. I don’t regret that at all because it saved me a whole lot of heartache.

A fun fact is that this movie has had 5 adaptations and is originally from a book Ben-Hur: A tale of the Christ by an author Lew Wallace.

That said, it’s reeltime if you get my drift πŸ˜‰

I am a sucker for intrigue and so when the opening scene starts with a race between two brothers Judah Ben-Hur and his adopted Roman brother Messala Severus. At first I thought it read Masala like spice but I was wrong, I digress.

We are taken down an 8 year road of themes that range from faith, debauchery, fear, love, triumph, pride, reunion, suffering, liberation, revenge, loss, oppression, forgiveness and miracles.

Be sure to grab a tissue or two as it is an emotional roller coaster. You feel what they felt, and to me that counts as a well written/played story.

The brothers have a tight knit relationship and Ben-Hur’s father having been rich adopted Severus at a young age and raised him as his own. The family wasn’t the traditional homestead as Ben-Hur married the maid servant Esther, while Severus fell in love with Ben-Hur’s little sister Tirzah. Although Ben-Hur’s mother didn’t seem to like it at first, making Severus to find his own fortune.

Several years later Severus is rich and a celebrated ruler. But as things turn out Pontius Pilate is angered by the work of Zealots and wants them dead as he comes to the town only to be shot by an arrow from one of the Zealots that Ben-Hur saved to the chagrin of his soon to be estranged brother. After a frucus arises the whole of the Ben-Hur clan is taken in and a lot of casualties are left behind.

This marks the beginning of Ben-Hur’s suffering as a slave in the galley. By hate, according to him, he triumphs and makes it back to civilization.

After being rescued by a rich African named Ilderim played by Morgan Freeman, he plots a revenge on Severus who it is said had Ben-Hur’s mother and sister killed. Esther his wife who survived the ambush at their house is the sole relationship Ben-Hur has left. It’s later revealed that the mother and sister were sentenced to a slow death suffering from leprosy.

It’s the faith that Ilderim has in Ben-Hur after seeing his need to revenge that gives the protagonist a chance to run the race rather than kill Severus and get killed himself. Ben-Hur proceeds to cut his mane in getting ready for the race.

The main scene and my deduction as the central part of the story is the chariots race. If you love horses and their speed you are in for a treat, equestrian bliss if you may. I found it fascinating that the horses were black for Severus and White for Ben-Hur to express their relationship at that time.

The cast was impressive and one Esther played by Nazanin stole my heart. Her beauty and purity evoked the kindred spirit we all long in a movie. One quote to her husband stuck with me and it goes: “We’ve been given a second chance, spend it on hate and you’re still a slave.” This she said when her returning husband told her of his revenge.

Another scene is where Jesus the carpenter exudes a miraculous aura when he gives Ben-Hur water as he is sent to the galley to work as a slave. The same scene is when Ben-Hur tries to return the favor when Jesus is about to be crucified only to whipped. In the midst of rage he tries to grab a stone but Jesus stops him and says it is His choice to die on the cross.

If you are like me you’ll watch the movie till the end just to see the credits (that’s how I knew the right spelling of Messala and that Morgan Freeman’s character wasn’t African but Sheik Ilderim.) Also I like to listen to the soundtrack and just discover facts of the movie. Like this one was filmed at the archeological site of Villa Adriana in Italy. It also helps me see how many people it took for that movie to be successful. There are other facts that won’t come up in the credits and that’s when searching the internet comes in handy. I do that too.

So there you have it guys, first film review and some take home ideas I got from the whole 2 hours Β and 4 minutes of this reel creation. It was an easy to follow storyline so you won’t lose the message, just stay keen and observe.

Forgive me if I spoilt the movie for you but I had this idea to be subtle which I’m the end seems like I have given too much. My bad or is it thank me later πŸ˜‰