6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Not bad, but far too safe,
This review is from: The Body  [DVD] (DVD)
Given a new resonance in the light of James Cameron's recent Geraldo Riveraesque TV special, The Body certainly isn't the stinker the critics claimed, more a film with an intriguing premise that it's too eager to avoid offending anyone with to really capitalise on.
Somewhat reminiscent of 70s miniseries The Word, it sees Olivia Williams' Jewish archaeologist discover the tomb of a crucified man who died in AD 32 with identical wounds to Christ in Jerusalem, in the process opening a rather nasty can of worms that sees the Catholic Church, the Israeli authorities, Palestinian political groups and Hassidic Jews all at increasing odds over the possible consequences, with the Vatican sending Antonio Banderas' priest to investigate and debunk the find leading to the inevitable crisis of faith. So far so promising, but despite being more entertaining than expected it never quite gets to grips with either the theological or political implications, while playing down the genuine archaeology to avoid confusing the intended audience. Naturally it ends in a shootout and a big explosion (the film throws in another at the halfway point to keep things lively) and things do briefly get silly as a typically hammy Derek Jacobi's loss of faith and subsequent mental breakdown reaches a melodramatic turning point (cue slo-mo anguish from Antonio), but if it never hits the heights it's never dull either and Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography is typically strong. Note to Olivia Williams, though: sneering in profile just makes you look like Tara Palmer Tomkinson, and that's not a good look for any girl.