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Modern Religious Themed Film Directors: 3 Filmmakers Who Stand Out

By    |   Sunday, 26 Apr 2015 09:42 AM

It’s difficult to think of any religious themed films without immediately calling to mind Cecil B. DeMille’s masterpiece, “The Ten Commandments,” starring Charlton Heston, and the famous line, “Let my people go!”

Religious themed films tend to polarize. Activists and religious leaders with political points of view tend to criticize such movies for the various conscious or subconscious messages they appear to present. However, audiences tend to flock to the box office to see them regardless. Here's a look at three modern directors of religious themed films.

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1. Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson’s 2004 hit “The Passion of the Christ,” which he wrote and directed, was highly controversial then and still is today. In a 2014 article, the National Catholic Reporter contended that the film “still raises questions of anti-Semitism.”

Even the actors were affected by the film’s scrutiny. At one point following the filming of the movie, Jim Caviezel, who portrayed Jesus, stated that he had been "rejected" by his own industry after appearing in the movie.

Yet, despite the difficulties surrounding it, Gibson’s film went on to become the highest grossing independent film of all time.

2. Darren Aronofsky

Other directors have faced similar difficulties in bringing films of a religious nature to the public, particularly recently. In 2014 alone, five major studio films with religious themes were released to the public. Perhaps the highest profile of these was Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah,” which was based on the Old Testament story of Noah and the arc.

RogerEbert.com's Matt Zoller Seitz reviewed the film, and remarked that it is “... a modern blockbuster, chock full of the visual and aural and narrative tics we expect from modern blockbusters.”

The film went on to receive mixed reviews from critics, but did well at the box office, pulling in more than $362 million worldwide.

3. Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott, director of the Oscar winning epic, “Gladiator” also tried his hand at a religious themed story with his 2014 effort, “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” The movie retells the story of Moses and the Israelites’ escape from Egypt.

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The film was blasted by critics, and it fell under the scrutiny of Variety.com reviewer Justin Chang for its “improbably Anglo-led cast.” Wired.com’s review of the film criticized “the oddly irrelevant appearances of familiar actors ... to the choppy, illogical presentation of many of the film’s events and ideas.”

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It's difficult to think of any modern religious themed films without immediately calling to mind Cecil B. DeMille's masterpiece, "The Ten Commandments," starring Charlton Heston, and the famous line, "Let my people go!" Religious themed films tend to polarize.
modern, religious themed, films, directors, movies, hollywood
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2015-42-26
Sunday, 26 Apr 2015 09:42 AM
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