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Movie Review

The Body

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violent sequences and brief language

Reviewed by: Ray Schlein

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teen to Adult
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
April 13, 2001
Relevant Issues
Antonio Banderas in “The Body”

JESUS—Learn more about his life, death, and resurrection Go

Was Jesus Christ only a legend? Answer

Is Jesus Christ a man, or is he God? Answer

If Jesus is God, how could he die? If Jesus died on the cross, then how can he be alive today? Answer

Was Jesus Christ God, manifest in human form? Answer

Is Jesus Christ really God? Answer

If Jesus was the Son of God, why did He call Himself the Son of Man? Answer

Trinity—How can one God be three persons? Answer

Character—Is Christ’s character consistent with his high claims? Answer

Has science disproved the miracles associated with Jesus Christ? Answer

Could Christ have sinned? Answer

Archaeology—Have any burial sites been found for the people involved in Christ’s life and death? Answer

Mary Magdelene

Mary, mother of Jesus

How do we know the Bible is true? Answer

How can the Bible be infallible if it was written by fallible humans? Answer

“The Jesus Seminar”—Are their criticisms of the gospels valid? Answer

“The Jesus Seminar”—Who do they really speak for? Answer

Jesus Christ: His Identity, Life, Death and Resurrection
Featuring: Antonio Banderas, Olivia Williams, Derek Jacobi
Director: Jonas McCord
Producer: Rudy Cohen
Distributor: Lions Gate Films

“The Body” is a thriller set in modern day Jerusalem. During a construction project, a body is discovered that some believe may be the un-risen remains of Jesus. A priest (Antonio Banderas) is sent by the Vatican to investigate the identity of the body. Banderas must work with a fiery Israeli archaelogist (Olivia Wiliams) who has her own agenda to protect. All the while, the age old political conflicts of Jerusalem explode around them.

Initially, I had misgivings about this movie as I thought it was just another attack on our Lord. But I decided to watch it so that I could be prepared to refute this movie to friends who may wonder about Christ’s resurrection.

The movie creates initial tension by presenting archaeological evidence that seems to make a strong argument that maybe this is the body of Jesus. However, the movie does a good job of examining both sides of the faith issue surrounding the Resurrection. Banderas’ character is not a typical Hollywood cliche priest full of flaws, contradictions, and hypocrisy. Christianity is not set up as a straw man—a silly superstition—to be knocked down by the logic of science. I especially enjoyed the numerous biblical passages quoted as the historical setting of the crucifixion is examined and the technical information regarding archaeology. The tension continues till the end of the movie where, as Christians, our hopes are not destroyed.

The movie avoids any sexual situations though there is some romantic tension between Banderas and Williams. However, there is some profanity and a fair amount of violence as various factions use terrorism to advance political agendas. I wouldn’t let children under 16 watch this movie. Some Roman Catholic viewers may be offended as the Vatican hierarchy comes out looking no better than the secular politicians.

Overall, I found this a thrilling movie that made me think about why I believe in our Lord. I think the producers tried to make a thought provoking movie that wouldn’t play as secular propaganda. However, this is not a Sunday school educational film.

Viewer Comments
Positive—I just rented this movie and I thought it was an extremely well done thriller. My biggest fear was that it would end poorly but I was not disappointed. A strong Christian worldview prevails and the faith portrayed on the part of the priest played by Antonio Banderas was so gratifying [especially considering that Hollywood usually does a good job of bashing Christian belief]. I had never even heard of this film and it surely didn’t get a very wide release or much promotion from Hollywood. Not a movie for kids but teens 15 and up and adults should find this thought-provoking and entertaining.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Donnak, age 51
Negative—I was surprised to see a favorable review… While the individual parts of this film may not be offensive, the overall message is on a par with “The Last Temptation of Christ”. it’s just done in a more subtle way. Under the pretty exterior, this is one nasty and subversive film. The message of the movie is that Christ did not really arise from the dead, but instead was secretly buried and his body was recently found. It pits science against religion, a tactic typically employed by secular humanists and evolutionists. Then it say that it does not really matter that Christ is not risen and in fact our faith has nothing to do with reality but is only belief, so finding the body of Christ is not a problem except for the Vatican and various political power groups. The movie portrays the protagonists in a sympathetic light and quotes scripture passages to masquerade as a Christian film. And then the evidence is destroyed so that people can continue their faith. The only person who understands the implications of devoting his whole life to a lie (faith in the living Christ) is the priest who commits suicide. And he is portrayed as a borderline lunatic. At the end we are assured that everyone has their own god, and isn’t that nice? Faith and reality need not be in conflict. I happen to believe in the real god who created the universe. He is not just a belief which has nothing to do with scientific reality. The whole premise of this film is to say “What if Jesus didn’t really arise from the dead?.” The film’s answer: “Scientifically he didn’t, but that doesn’t matter.” Talk about using a lie to undermine people’s faith… I challenge you to watch this film, consider the implications and then ask yourself whether this film is of God or of Satan.
—Eric L Cory, age 51

Editor’s Note: If you don’t pay very close attention, you can miss some very important details that can totally change the meaning of this film. Without giving away any specific information, keep a keen eye on everything going on. Especially toward the film’s conclusion. Your opinion of the film may rest solely on one or two scenes. Overall: excellent topics to consider for any follower of Christ.

Neutral—…disturbing… places Christianity and science at stake. …some good debates of religion and political power, but I was mostly outraged 95% of the film as it shows what seems to be Christ’s body being found in the tomb in a hidden area. Not till the end does the producer do a very quick and small job of diverting the identity… A strange film for release at Easter time here…
—Kerry Anderson, Comev, São Paulo, Brazil