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Unlike the Gospel of Mel Gibson, this dutiful 180-minute adaptation is in English and neither wallows in suffering nor aims for art-movie credentials, apart from a few brief black-and-white flashbacks. Directed by British journeyman Philip Saville from a script by John Goldsmith and produced by Cineplex Odeon magnate Garth Drabinsky, this is an ideal straight-ahead version of Jesus's story, built around Christopher Plummer's offscreen narration, for people who don't already know all the details and can't follow all of The Passion of the Christ without a synopsis. It also dwells a lot more on Jesus's teachings and miracles than The Passion and seems to care more about the suffering of other crucified individuals. I'm still waiting for a movie Jesus who looks even half as Semitic as Gibson's Caiphas, but Henry Ian Cusick still does a creditable job.

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