Film Review: Mary Magdalene

Garth Davis’ Mary Magdalene offers good performances and a mesmeric feel. Despite its efforts however, the film does not distinguish itself fully from other biblical epics.

Mary Magdalene is due to be married to a suitor, on the wishes of her family. However, Mary is searching for something more. When Jesus of Nazareth visits her village, she feels compelled to join his movement…

The story of Jesus has been told on film numerous times. Director Garth Davis’ film offers a different take on this, viewing the well-known events through a hitherto peripheral character. The film tells the familiar story, but also tells the story of Mary Magdalene. A character that has been given a particular representation in the mainstream, the film offers a differing perspective.

The narrative begins by concentrating on Mary’s circumstances; her first contact with Jesus does not come until after the title character has been established. After Mary joins Jesus’ band of followers, the story becomes much more familiar. Even in these events, much of what is seen is from the perspective of the title character. It is uncertain whether Mary Magdalene was as involved in all these key moments as the film suggests, yet writers Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett clearly wish to emphasise her importance.

Mary Magdalene has a mesmeric quality to it. The film feels more pensive than other biblical epics, with a higher focus on spirituality. This comes through thanks to the protagonist and following her spiritual journey, as well as her interpretation of Jesus’ teachings. The contrast between Mary’s understanding and that of some of the other apostles seems to mirror some of the divides in contemporary Christianity.

Rooney Mara delivers a believable performance as the title character. Joaquin Phoenix is convincingly cast as Jesus, he offers a charisma which seems suitable for the character. Tahir Rahim is suitably zealous in his role. Mary Magdalene is at its most interesting when it focuses on its title character. In telling the story of the Crucifixion, the film feels too much like the numerous other adaptions of this tale.

Previews: On Chesil Beach Trailer, Death Wish, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview attractions, including the new Yardie trailer, Death Wish, Yardie, and more…

On Chesil Beach Trailer

Here is the latest On Chesil Beach trailer. Based on the novel by Ian McEwan (with a screenplay also written by McEwan), On Chesil Beach is about a young couple’s wedding day in the early 1960s. The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, and Anne-Marie Duff. On Chesil Beach will be released on 15th June 2017.

Yardie Trailer

Above is the trailer for Idris Elba’s directorial debut Yardie. Set in 1970s Kingston and 1980s Hackney, the film tells the story of a young man who grows up under the wing of a Kingston don and music producer. Starring Aml Ameen, Sheldon Shepherd, and Shantol Jackson, Yardie will be released later this year.

Death Wish Poster

Here is one of the new poster for Death Wish. The new Eli Roth movie is a reimagining of the 1974 film. The film stars Bruce Willis as a surgeon who is confronted by violence when his family are attacked. Also starring Vincent D’Onofrio and Elisabeth Shue, Death Wish will hit UK screens on 6th April 2018.

A Gentle Creation Trailer

Here is the trailer for the Palme d’Or nominated A Gentle Creature. Directed by Sergei Loznitsa, the film is about a woman with an incarcerated husband. When her parcel to him is returned, she begins on a quest for justice. A Gentle Creature will be released in UK cinemas on 13th April 2018.

A Quiet Place Featurette

John Krasinski explains a little about the concept of A Quiet Place in the above featurette. Directed, co-written, and starring Krasinski, the horror is about a family who must stay quiet in order to evade detection. Co-starring John Krasinski’s wife Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place will hit the big screen later this year.

Mary Magdelene Trailer

Mary Magdalene is a biblical biopic. The film tells the story of the title character as she meets Jesus of Nazareth. Rooney Mara plays Mary, with Joaquin Phoenix playing Jesus. The film also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tahar Rahim. Directed by Garth Davis, Mary Magdalene is out in UK cinemas on 16th March 2018.