Have you heard of BEN-HUR?

Published in the August 24 issue of The Bells

Two brothers stand at the starting line, waiting to begin a chariot race of a lifetime. From the moment Ben-Hur begins, the audience is thrown into action.
Ben-Hur is a remake of the 1959, Oscar-winning film. Several reviewers, including Rolling Stone and CNN, believe the new film doesn’t come close to comparing to the original epic.
As I have never seen the original, I went into the film as an uninformed moviegoer without any standards to compare the film to. While I do not believe this film will be 2016’s Best Picture, I was thoroughly impressed.
Ben-Hur tells the story of the Jewish prince, Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), and his quest for vengeance against his Roman adopted brother, Messala (Tony Kebbell).
Hur and Messala are devoted friends and brothers until Messala leaves Hur’s family to join the Roman army due to his insecurity over his birth family. A few years later, Messala returns to Jerusalem only to have Hur and his family arrested for treason against Rome.
The film takes place during the period where Pontius Pilate (Pilou Asbaek) and his army were killing those who wanted freedom against Rome.

Hur is sentenced to be a galley slave, while his mother and sister are supposedly jailed and crucified. Five years later, Hur finds himself back in Jerusalem thirsting for revenge.
Huston plays a convincing Judah. The audience is able to mourn with him as he loses everything he has after being falsely accused by Messala.
And the audience will find themselves cheering him on in the intense chariot race scene that will determine the fate of the two brothers.
Love plays a huge role in this version of Ben-Hur, as well. Once Jesus teaches Judah about the importance of loving your neighbor, he is never the same.
Judah’s story intermingles with the life of Christ. And the film portrays a biblically accurate depiction of Christ’s crucifixion that left more than one audience member with tears on their cheeks.
Another notable appearance in the film is Morgan Freeman’s Ilderim who serves as Judah’s advisor/life coach/ trainer. Ilderim’s guidance saves Judah’s life more than once in the film.
Ben-Hur combines biblical, fictional, and historical elements that when put together depict a moving tale of suffering and redemption.
If you can sit through the two and a half hour film, Ben-Hur is a must-see.

Author: Lauren Lum

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