THE FOURTH WISE MAN
Reviewed by: Ken James
7 to Adult
We all know about the three wise men that brought gifts to baby Jesus 2,000 years ago. Much folklore and myth surround the event. Children and adults re-enact this great event every December. But have you heard about the elusive fourth wise man?
Martin Sheen is known as Artaban, a magi who is the fourth wise man. He is a prominent physician and learned man who carefully watches the stars and is convinced that the Christ child has come to earth. Much to the dismay of his closest friends and mostly-loyal servant, Orontes (Alan Arkin), he sells his great fortune to set out in search of this baby born in Israel. He sets off on his journey with only a few small provisions, but with precious gifts fit for a king. “The Fourth Wise Man” documents this fictional, yet realistic story (based on Henry van Dyke’s classic, “The Story of the Other Wise Man”). What happens to him and his wise-cracking servant during their much-prolonged journey to find Jesus is a fascinating tale, full of subtle humor, irony, and sensitivity.
While “The Fourth Wise Man” features several big-name actors including Martin Sheen, Charlie Sheen (in a cameo role), and Eileen Brennan, there is refreshingly nothing offensive at all. With good photography and an easy-to-follow plot, it is a great film for family viewing, appropriate for both children and adults. The theme that shines clear is that any life spent serving the poor and needy is truly spent serving Christ himself. After all, Jesus said during his parable of the sheep and the goats:
Year of Release—1985