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Last Days in the Desert

Last Days in the Desert

May. 13, 2016 USA98 Min.PG-13
Your rating: 0
8.7 1,054 votes

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Synopsis

On his way out of the wilderness, Jesus struggles with the Devil over the fate of a family in crisis, setting himself up for a dramatic test.

Last Days in the Desert
Last Days in the Desert
Last Days in the Desert
Last Days in the Desert
Last Days in the Desert
Last Days in the Desert
Last Days in the Desert
Last Days in the Desert
Last Days in the Desert
Original titleLast Days in the Desert
IMDb Rating5.6 2,247 votes
TMDb Rating4.1 41 votes

(14) comments

  • thependragonscribeDecember 18, 2015Reply

    ”Last Days in the Desert” is worth discussing, if not worth being immersed.

    To all its credit, ”Albert Nobbs” director Rodrigo Garcia makes a
    marvelous transition of the story of the temptation of Jesus to the
    art-house scene, cementing this ”not intended for the Christian
    audiences”. Though the art-house Biblical story is nothing unusual,
    ”Last Days in the Desert” makes a unique turn of focusing it as a
    father-son story. That is where the flaws turn out. Driving the focus
    away from Jesus makes the story unjustifiable to explore and insincere
    to depict. However, the grandiose coming from Ewan McGregor’s presence
    and the sense of struggle makes the journey satisfying. There could
    have been more depth to explore from a simple scripture about Jesus’ 40
    days in the desert, rather than adding a father-son subplot. But from
    what was offered, Garcia makes an interesting piece to talk about.

  • caspian1978July 28, 2016Reply

    Jesus the Therapist

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • GrangerJuly 30, 2016Reply

    Good acting, but pointless

    As a stand-alone slice-of-life movie, this might be marginally
    interesting. If you’re looking for insight into Jesus’ experience in
    the wilderness look elsewhere; you’ll find none of it here. There is
    nothing of biblical or historical accuracy in this re-created account
    of Jesus’ experience in the desert, nor in his dealings with Satan.
    This imaginary tale might be about a lone holy man who comes upon a
    family while traveling in the desert– and little more. The scenery
    isn’t majestic enough to be inspiring, the script not filled out enough
    to be meaningful.

    The saving grace in this film (as would be expected) is the main actor,
    but it is not a role that is demanding or that couldn’t have been
    filled by any actor of decent ability. The destinies of the characters
    make no point, nor does the plot. In the end I found myself neither
    fulfilled nor disappointed– just unimpressed. This was not a tale of
    Jesus, nor a tale of morality, ethics, joy or pain. It is a trip to the
    grocery market, filling the car with gasoline, doing the laundry. The
    main characters have no more impact upon anything than that. The events
    which transpire have nothing to do with anything and don’t really seem
    to effect even the characters involved.

    Ewan playing the dual role of Satan is neither surprising nor notable.
    The ”points” made are absurdist, without basis, and thus have little or
    no emotional impact on the viewer. We find here neither points to
    ponder nor heresy– but rather simple blather that has no more impact
    than the rest of the events in the film.

    We have seen far worse films and far better films. This left me with no
    more emotional response than a sigh and a wish the writer and director
    had given us a bit more mental fodder to chew on. As it stands I don’t
    expect to give it a second thought over the next few days. The events
    have no impact upon the viewer, and as such leave as much mark as a
    passing shadow on a stone.

  • jonathancolespiveyAugust 1, 2016Reply

    Last Days in the Desert

    The film is fiction. I don’t think Jesus was written with a
    supernatural significance. Jesus Christ is the son of God. In this
    story, Christ was written as a holy man and never really identified as
    the son of God. I did like the humanity of the acting and the writing
    revealed humane qualities. The film needed the resurrection. It didn’t
    have a faith based message without the resurrection. Christ lived a
    man’s life and he died on the cross for our sins and was resurrected.
    The resurrection was left out, which gave it a stale ending. The
    resurrection is just as important as the crucifixion. I didn’t like the
    fact that Jesus did not revive the old man (father). Jesus never let
    anything die around him. He walked in life and all death was
    resurrected around him. He was a man to bring death back to life. This
    was missing. I did not like that the director left that out. I don’t
    consider it a Christian film, although it was interesting. Needs
    resurrecting.

  • Gordon-11August 1, 2016Reply

    No connection or resonance with me

    This film tells the imagined story of Jesus, and his 40 days of travels
    in the desert, fasting and praying before his sacrifice for humankind.
    He meets a family with troubles, and tries to offer a helping hand.

    To be honest, I would not have watched ”Last Days in the Desert” if it
    wasn’t for Ewan McGregor in the film. After just five minutes, I was
    thoroughly bored and wished I hadn’t started watching it. It shows Ewan
    McGregor walking around in the desert, in a dull and monotonous
    environment. There is hardly any dialog until he meets the family. Even
    then, there is still hardly anything happening. There are very long
    waits between dialogues, and basically very long waits before anything
    happens. I sat through the film and was bored by the dullness of the
    film. The only scene that had a little resonance with me was the scene
    where the father asked the son a riddle. Otherwise, the rest of the
    entire film just did not connect or resonate with me at all.

  • RenCatReviewsAugust 3, 2016Reply

    An enthralling tale about the work of Jesus

    This is one film that I have been waiting to see since January 2015.
    After it premiered at the Sundance film fest and received solid praise
    out of the gate, I was looking forward to it. But was it picked up for
    a wide release? No it was not. So, nearly a year and a half later it
    has finally hit shelves. Recently the box office has had an abnormally
    high amount of pandering faith driven religious films. Which isn’t
    really a bad thing. They certainly know their audience, and they have
    cornered the market for their films. That being said, this isn’t one of
    those films. Seeing a movie that is largely religion based you normally
    see the typical one sided, you’re wrong and we are right thing.

    I am happy to say that this doesn’t do that. This adaptation is about
    Jesus, playing out in an imagined portion of his forty days of fasting
    in the desert. As he is trekking through the desert on his way home, he
    encounters a small family. He quickly realizes that they are in turmoil
    of emotional proportions.

    He decides that their needs out way his own and attempts to aid them.
    The story mainly takes place during this period of time. Now this movie
    could have been so incredibly dull. The main story is fairly thin and
    it doesn’t exactly move around that much. But writer/director Rodrigo
    García has infused this film with palpable emotion. The more we learn
    about this small family the more we realize that they are pretty
    dysfunctional.

    The father and son don’t see eye to eye on anything and the mother is
    laying on her death bed for the entirety of the films run time. For me
    the scenes between the son and father really struck true. I often have
    experienced the same communication issues with various people that
    these two do. Where you want to say something but don’t know how and
    before you know it, the moment to express that feeling has pasted.

    As these issues become more prevalent the more you just want them to
    work it out. This creates some real drama with in these scenes. But the
    shining moments of the film come in the short encounters between Ewan
    McGregor and Ewan McGregor. Who plays both Jesus and the devil. The
    conversations that they have point out both sides of the religion
    spectrum.

    It presents interesting arguments for both parties. Which honestly
    helps you feel what Jesus is feeling. The whole point of Jesus’s desert
    journey was to be put on trial to see if he could over come any
    adversity that the devil could come up with. So when the film puts him
    through these temptations and presents interesting arguments for either
    side, it helps you get into the characters shoes.

    That being said this film still has a story that is thin as paper. So
    when you get outside the family drama it can be rather dull. The
    beautiful cinematography by Lubezski can carry one through a few scenes
    but not too many. There are some scenes where we watch McGregor just
    pace around the rocky terrain for long periods of time. And it left me
    longing for something, anything to happen.

    This movie may not be the religious experience some people are looking
    for but it’s really a breath of fresh air in a genre that had little
    going for it. It seems to have a keen grasp on the story it’s adapting
    and does so with no shortage of grace. It offers excellent
    performances, beautiful visuals, an insightful story, and characters
    that you can actually get invested in. If it weren’t for the thin
    plotting and some dull sequences this would truly be an excellent film.
    But considering all it does right it’s definitely worth a watch.

  • DBAugust 4, 2016Reply

    A total waste, misused biblical character of Jesus

    A total waste, if you want a good if not at least romanticized, heavily
    biased interesting movie on Jesus with some close to factual depiction
    of a segment of his human life.

    Also a waste of good acting talent with a script and plot that is
    evidently poorly done, even as one attempt to introduce some
    interesting twist.

    Quite frankly, the story line is totally lacking any artistry, even
    baseless, unfounded of any biblical or historical fact about Jesus’ 40
    days trials and temptations in the desert.

    Nut shell, other than the misused biblical character of Jesus, this is
    a movie with a poorly plotted, poorly directed bland, desperately
    boring fictional story.

  • A_Different_DrummerAugust 7, 2016Reply

    Magnificent

    There is an exchange of dialog in this film where Ewan McGregor’s
    character asks another character in the story, ”Why do you live in the
    desert?” and the answer comes back ”Because the desert is ruthless …
    it strips away all pretense … it makes you see yourself for who you
    are.”

    Now, going into this film I was a little concerned that it was part of
    the New Wave of faith-based films. Don’t get me wrong. I have reviewed
    several of those, and some are very well done. But what each
    faith-based film has in common is that it seems at first like a regular
    film … and then gets a little odd. Not saying that is a bad thing.
    But it is odd.

    This film starts with a certain tone and stays true to that tone for
    the entire run time. It never gets odd. For this reason I do not
    consider it a faith-based film but a true creative work that is is both
    brilliant and powerful.

    The premise is simple — can you focus on just a few days of one of the
    most inspirational figures in modern religion (fictionally)and, by the
    microcosm of those few days, achieve the flavor and the raw emotion of
    the entire life of that same character?

    It is a daunting goal but I think McGregor and Garcia pull it off. To
    appreciate this film you need to start with no expectations and then
    get drawn into the film much the same way the central character allows
    himself to get drawn into the desert. Almost like a meditation, if you
    like.

    In the right mindset this film is like the desert in the quote above.
    For a brief moment it allows you to see yourself for who you are.

    Recommended.

  • KirpianuscusAugust 7, 2016Reply

    a poem

    it seems strange. far by the classic story of Jesus in Carantania
    desert. without the well known temptations and without the expected
    answers of Son of God. Rodrigo Garcia gives only the portrait of a
    strange meet of Jesus with a family. few riddles and dialogues and slow
    action and enigmatic facts. each- far by a religious film. or a
    coherent story. a riddle. like the riddles of the boy. in fact, only a
    challenge. puzzle of discreet cultural references from the roof of the
    Temple to Abraham and Last Temptation, from Pasolini to Paradjanov. a
    film of gestures and looks. maybe, a poem. ignoring Resurrection.
    because the Resurrection is the duty of the viewer. perfect subject of
    debates and controversies, it propose a new, interesting and far to be
    uninspired portrait of the Savior. Ewan McGregor gives a not
    comfortable Jesus but one who impress for the honest manner to remind
    old truths who are , in too many occasions, insignificant. a poem about
    the small things who defines the life. and nothing more.

  • Larry SilversteinSeptember 3, 2016Reply

    Absorbing Tale

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • navi23October 25, 2016Reply

    Shame on you Obi-Wan Kenobi – you were our (only?) hope

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • runamokprodsJanuary 8, 2017Reply

    Far from perfect, but a refreshingly human, small scale take on Jesus

    I liked this more than a lot of critics and friends, finding a gentle
    poetic power in some of the sequences, and appreciating the humanness
    of this simple telling as the end of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert
    before he returned to civilization to face challenges and death.

    Devoid of demands the audience believe in a literal way, I could be
    more open the exploration of complexities of faith and spiritual ethics
    that challenge everyone, even the son of god. I particularly liked the
    scenes where Ewen McGregor plays both Jesus and Satan, debating – among
    other things – the nature of God, and whether He is essentially good,
    or an over-controlling ego-maniac. McGregor does a lovely job
    separating the two characters with subtle touches like vocal rhythms
    and a different glint in the eye (there’s no attempt to make the look
    different, signifying perhaps that the Devil is indeed an inevitable
    part of all humans, including this holy one).

    On the other hand, the main story line created for the film – Jesus
    getting caught up in the domestic troubles of a dysfunctional desert
    family – is more uneven. There are indeed touching scenes, and it was
    refreshing to see a biblical story where Jesus can’t simply bring
    happiness to this angry father, dying mother and alienated son with a
    wise word or a wave of his hand. On the other hand, at times it feels
    simply too prosaic, too small scale and too familiar. I think that’s
    part of the point. Basic human struggle has changed very little in
    2,000 years. But it also led to the occasional cringe-worthy moment, as
    when Jesus councils the father about the wayward son; ‘talk to him
    about something he’s interested in’, sounding more like a friendly
    neighbor or basketball coach than the son of God. More important it
    wasn’t clear (at least to me) how Jesus’ encounter with this family
    effects his thinking or perceptions about his own difficult
    relationship with his own Father or terrifying fate going forward. What
    does he know or understand now that he didn’t before?

    Last, the film steals a key last minute twist from another cinematic
    version of the Christ tale, and I was distracted by the imitation.

    In the end this was sort of a split decision. My mind found many faults
    with the film, some serious, but my heart was touched and involved.

  • sanjin_9632April 6, 2017Reply

    A good take on another Jesus fairy tale..

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • sempervirentzMay 25, 2017Reply

    wait, hummingbirds live only in America …

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

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