Ben-Hur | Chicago Reader


Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ was a publishing phenomenon in its day and a precursor to the Christian entertainment business that generates thundering multiplex devotionals like this one. It's the fifth big-screen adaptation of the book, and though it seems unlikely to dislodge William Wyler's 1959 version, its story of a Judean prince (Jack Huston) who keeps running into Jesus of Nazareth (Rodrigo Santoro) offers plenty of action and spectacle. Director Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) delivers a respectable chariot race at the climax, but his best action set piece is the sea battle in which a Roman warship, where the hero toils as a galley slave, is split apart by an enemy vessel. Huston and Bekmambetov have cited producer Roma Downey as the driving force behind the movie's strong message of forgiveness; if the director were in charge, Jesus would probably have hammered a stake through Herod's heart. With Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman, and Pilou Asbaek (A Hijacking) as Pontius Pilate.



  • Timur Bekmambetov


  • Jack Huston
  • Toby Kebbell
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Rodrigo Santoro
  • Nazanin Boniadi
  • Ayelet Zurer
  • Sofia Black-D'Elia
  • Moises Arias
  • Pilou Asbæk
  • Marwan Kenzari
  • Johan Asbaek


  • Sean Daniel
  • Joni Levin
  • Duncan Henderson
  • Mark Burnett
  • Roma Downey
  • Keith Clarke
  • John Ridley
  • Jason Brown

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