Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I'd seen so many bits of this film over the years, that I decided it was was high-time that I sat down and actually watched the whole 200+ minutes properly, intermission and all.

And, I'm pleased to say, it is a terrific movie.

The acting is passable, the spectacle great, and the sensitive music absolutely refreshing. Back in those days, musical directors knew when to keep quiet.

And the film's length is a real blessing. There's a proper amount of time available for the various chapters in Hur's life, so that when, for example, he becomes a galley-slave, he is one for so long that you can well believe it's been three years.

The story of his wrestling with revenge and forgiveness have a lifetime to be played-out too, and the constant unforeseen transformations of his life imply much of God's sovereign will over the future.

The scene when, being dragged in chains through the hot desert, Jesus gives him a drink and watches him head off again to the next trials of his life, speak volumes of the inexplicable agony of existence. Why didn't Jesus set him free? Why did he only make the present moment bearable?

This version of Ben Hur is of course recognised as a classic, so I dare say I'll be seeing, and reflecting on, bits of this again for a while to come.

(Review of the 1925 version here)

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