Denys Arcand, probably one of Quebec's most talented directors brings us Jesus of Montreal, a film that covers so many topics while still keeping a sense of humor. There are a lot of themes and commentaries going on but it doesn't get overloaded. What really makes the movie special though is how the story connects with Jesus' life.
Lothaire Bluteau plays Daniel, an actor who agrees to take over a Passion play. He goes on a hunt to gather the right actors for all the parts, while still being coy about how the play will go down. It's a production that has been declining in popularity, so it's his job to breath new life into it.
There are some extremely comedic moments, like the dubbing of a porn movie in French and some typical but smart Quebecois humour bits but there's a lot of depth beyond just laughs. I find that this movie could still work today in 2014; so much of it is even more true today. For example, a lawyer tries to entice Daniel with getting his face on a billboard for charities which will "look good" but really it's just about raising his profile.
Daniel isn't about fame, he just wants to get his play noticed. Once the Church gets wind of its revisionist and controversial elements, there's trouble. The actors involved all do a great job and the dialogue is solid and sure.
I'm from Montreal myself so it was nice to see my city in this movie. However, it doesn't do it superficially just to make us Montrealers happy. There's some beautiful cinematography in Montreal's subway system and I liked the wink about Quebec's medicare system, which is bureaucratic and slow as a slug. I can't get over that this was made in 1989. Like I said, it's even more relevant today.
All in all, Jesus of Montreal is a great movie worth watching until the end. If you know your Bible well, you'll be sure to have an even deeper appreciation for it.
8/10 6 years 4 months ago
Clever, original and incisive. The ending was a bit overwrought, but on the whole an inspired piece of cinema. Of course, what else would you expect from Arcand? 7 years ago
Great concept, not entirely happy with the final execution; feels rushed towards the end.
Bluteau is compelling as 'Jesus' and I definitely came to care for him over the first 90 minutes of this film and then, whammo, the pace changes abruptly and things take a turn for the melodramatic and frankly unbelievable.6 years 2 months ago
In 6 official lists
This movie ranks #4 in TIFF's Top Canadian Films
This movie ranks #176 in Academy Award - Best International Feature Film Nominees
This movie ranks #421 in Mark Cousins's The Story of Film: An Odyssey
This movie ranks #457 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #548 in Doubling the Canon
This movie ranks #740 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2000