|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:
|Approx. 120 min
Mary Magdalene (Rooney Mara), who is about to be married off against her will, is searching for her very own path in life. She seems to have found it when she meets Jesus (Joaquin Phoenix) and witnesses him perform a miracle. Mary breaks with her family and joins Jesus and his disciples. Together they make their way to Jerusalem to announce to the people that Jesus is the Messiah they have been waiting for so long. It is a spiritual but also dangerous journey, at the end of which Mary Magdalene will take on a very special role - a role that will be denied her for many centuries.
Mary Magdalene is an attempt to tell the story of Jesus Christ, his crucifixion and resurrection from a different angle. It is a film that recognizes Mary Magdalene as part of the disciples around Jesus and also otherwise enriches the well-known story with a few interesting interpretive aspects. For instance, Judas' motivation for betraying Jesus is really a very different, exciting approach to this figure from the Bible. In that respect, Garth Davis' work can definitely be said to have some relevance.
The imagery is also really great. The interplay of camera and music creates a pull that is hard to resist. Another aspect in which this bible movie can convince. But now comes the big BUT: The production is otherwise very ponderous. The actors act with extremely reduced facial expressions, which leads especially in the case of Rooney Mara to the fact that she seemingly wanders through the story with only one facial expression, which is only supplemented at the last moment by a slight smile with a second variant. Add to that the fact that the dialogue is delivered emphatically slowly, so that even the last viewer realizes the importance of every word uttered by Jesus, Mary Magdalene, or the other disciples.
But unfortunately, this just doesn't come across as strong and meaningful, just extremely boring. It's not that Davis should have included more action or even humor here to lighten things up a bit. But this meaning-heavy heavy-handedness is just too much of a good thing. Apart from that, Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus just comes across as too old and at no point does he manage to make his yet very distinctive personality disappear behind this role.
Mary Magdalene's intentions are important and good, the execution, on the other hand, is too concerned with meaningfulness that any form of entertainment value - and even a Bible movie should have one - is buried underneath. Despite the interesting discussions that the film can initiate, the bottom line is only one: Worth seeing with significant cutbacks!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp