Produced for European Televison, this intelligently crafted film focuses on matters of theology rather than taking the Hollywood sideshow approach. In the year 90 A.D., Emperor Domitian (Bruce Payne) stuns Roman senators by declaring his own divinity, a unilateral promotion that spells especially bad news for Christians, who are already being persecuted for their underground faith. Intolerant of all worship that ignores him, Domitian seethes about reports that one of the Apostles is still alive and writing missives to the faithful from Asia Minor. And rumors abound that an aged John (Richard Harris) is scribbling the Lord's word, which is hen smuggled out of the prison mines at Patmos. When General Quintus (Christian Kohlund) fails to burn enough Christian villages and slaughter enough disciples to suit Domitian, he threatens the life of Quintus' adopted son, Valerius (Benjamin Sadler); rather than risk sacrificing Valerius, Quintus orders him to to go undercover at the salt mine and blend in with the slaves. The agnostic Valerius, who's smitten with a holy woman named Irene (Vittoria Belvedere), isn't a particularly effective spy for his dad, and as John's Godly visions intensify, tighter security makes it increasingly difficult to impart John's prophecies to the devout. Valerius is baffled to find himself in sympathy with John's ideals — he doesn't know that his real parents were Christians — but thanks to Irene, he stops resisting enlightenment. Short of a miracle (or Domitian’s assassination), it seems unlikely that the faithful will receive word of John's revelations. In one of his final performances, Harris sets the sober tone of this disciplined biblical history, eschewing bombast in favor of subtle and genuinely moving acting. Although the computer-generated imagery is astonishing, director/co-writer (with Gianmaria Pagano and Francesco Contaldo) Raffaele Mertes never allows visual trickery to swamp the beautifully modulated script about religious conviction.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: NR
- Review: Produced for European Televison, this intelligently crafted film focuses on matters of theology rather than taking the Hollywood sideshow approach. In the year 90 A.D., Emperor Domitian (Bruce Payne) stuns Roman senators by declaring his own divinity, a un… (more)