One paragraph reviews on art, movies, books, and pop culture by a know-nothing who knows it all

Thursday, August 24, 2006

This Medium Isn't for the Message

I recently watched "The Message" as part of my own mini-Controversial Film Fest. This 1977 movie about the origins of Islam is considered controversial because terrorists protested its release by holding 100 people hostage in D.C. and shooting future mayor Marion Barry. According to Muslim beliefs, Mohammed cannot be depicted on screen nor can his voice be heard, so that was a very tall order for director Moustapha Akkad. Actors speak directly to the camera as "Mohammed" and then repeat what the prophet says, sort of like what William Hurt did for deaf Marlee Matlin in "Children of a Lesser God." It's a bit awkward. Anthony Quinn gets top billing, but only because he's the only known actor in the flick. And what is "The Message"? There is only one God, and Mohommed is his messenger. That is phrase is uttered about a million times during the movie. The controversy? Seems pretty tame to me.

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