Cert: 12A Runtime: 120 mins Director: Garth Davis Cast: Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tahar Rahim and Denis Menochet
Her story will be told
Once Garth Davis revealed he was working on a Mary Magdalene film with Rooney Mara, I was intrigued. The story of Mary Magdalene has always captivated me, and probably this during this current climate it was time for her tale to be told. The inclusion of Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus was a bonus also! So what is it all bout you ask? set in the Holy Land in the first century C.E., Mary (Rooney Mara) leaves her small fishing village and traditional family behind to join a radical new social movement. At its head is a charismatic leader, Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix), who promises that the world is changing. Mary is searching for a new way of living, and an authenticity that is denied her by the rigid hierarchies of the day. As the notoriety of the group spread and more are drawn to follow Jesus’ inspirational message, Mary’s spiritual journey places her at the heart of a story that will lead to the capital city of Jerusalem, where she must confront the reality of Jesus’ destiny and her own place within it.
Garth Davis makes an admirable showing of Mary Magdalene as the Apostle of the Apostles. We see another view of her and not of the Fallen Woman variety. This is what captivated me through out the 120 minute run-time. The strong feminist feeling of the film is energising thanks to Rooney Mara’s lead in the film. Davis gives a grounded perspective of the story with a beautiful back drop and a beautiful use of natural light. Rooney Mara gives a good performance, but the moment you expect heavy dialogue and drama it remains flat. Mary Magdalene lacks the grit, we see in Passion of the Christ. I expected something more of that variety in Davis’s film. Joaquin Phoenix is under utilised, he didn’t have the drive expected from him. He comes across as false prophet too, but I’m not sure if that was on purpose.The dialogue can be rather mumbley for me and I struggled to understand what was going on. Mary Magdalene visually was strong, it’s message is potent but I expected more from a tale that has so much meaning to civilisation.