Reviewed by Phillip Tomasso
"On a high level, it clearly represents each person's search for the Truth... Although the cinematography was breathtaking, and the story itself enjoyable, the acting was a bit stilted."
Close to his death, aged Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar (Max von Sydow) begins to fear what may, or may not, be waiting for him on the Other Side. After a solar eclipse and an earthquake occur, the health-failing emperor is certain that something supernatural has occurred. When he summons Tito Valerio Tauro (Daniele Liotti), he charges the Roman Tribune with investigating the truth around alleged rumblings that there has been a resurrection of a rabbi who was recently put to death. Partnered with his warrior slave, Brixas (Dolph Lundgren), the two head for Jerusalem. Tauro seems determined to find answers that will squash rumors of resurrection.
On their trek the tribune and the slave attempt to blend in with the crowd. Tauro would prefer to keep his identity as a Roman officer, and his mission, to research the resurrection, a secret for as long as possible. Despite precautions to blend, Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate (Hristo Shopov), finds Tauro — and, once he learns the nature of the tribune’s presence, feels both insulted and threatened by the inquiry.
Pilate, teaming up with the Pharisees, do all that they can to convince Tauro that there is no way Jesus was resurrected, they take great pains to prove it was a farce. Convicted to perform a thorough investigation, and although many of the arguments made by Pilate and the Pharisees appear credible, plausible and possible—more so than the idea of a dead man coming back to life—there are still too many questions, important questions, that remain unanswered.
While dealing with Pilate and his shenanigans, Tauro finds himself drawn toward a woman named Tabitha, who crossed paths with Tauro when he rescues her from would-be attackers. Although it is forbidden for Tabitha to interact with a non-Jew, Tauro’s persistence erodes away her defenses. The attraction that grows between them is futile, since Tabatha’s father (F. Murray Abraham) has promised his daughter’s hand in marriage to another.
After a horrible incident occurs Tauro promises to find help. Despite his own doubts about Jesus, Tauro searches for His followers, hoping that the rumors are true—that they can actually perform miracles. But time is of the essence, and Jesus’ loyal followers are fearful of returning to the city since persecution of Christians remains a constant and real threat.
I found this Italian film intriguing (although the dubbed voices are never quite in-sync with the movement of the actors mouths). On a high level, it clearly represents each person’s search for the Truth—since basically, without the Resurrection of Christ Christianity is merely a long-running hoax. And Tauro’s initial search for answers may have been superior ordered at the onset, but the quest clearly becomes personal and more powerful than I suspect Tauro ever could have imagined.
The relationship that grows into friendship between Tauro and Brixas, was perhaps my favorite relationship in the movie. Brixas was a German warrior. During battle, he impressed Tauro—whose army had won the fight. Sparing Brixas’ life, Brixas vows to be a loyal slave, but nothing more. The two, however, become friends. And time after time, Brixas is impressed by Tauro, and, perhaps, by the Nazarenes who continue to risk their lives for their faith after their “leader” has been put to death.
Although the cinematography was breathtaking, and the story itself enjoyable, the acting was a bit stilted. Some of the dialogue was modern (like conversations between Tauro and Tabatha), while some of it was more time-appropriate. Performances were—overall—fair. The fight and action scenes are more comparable to movies made thirty years ago, than to the standard we’ve come to expect today. Regardless, I found Final Inquiry to be a movie worth watching.
DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008
20th Century Fox
Director: Giulio Base
Run Time: 111 minutes
Watch the Trailer:
Phillips grew up with a reading disability. He did everything
possible not to read. It wasn’t until he was in seventh grade that he finally
read a book cover to cover. Now a voracious reader and prolific writer, Phillips
uses his accomplishments as a motivational backdrop for speaking at school assemblies. Born
and raised in Rochester, New York, Phillips has worked as a freelance journalist
and currently works full time as an employment law paralegal. When
he isn’t writing, Phillips plays guitar, is active at his church, coaches
his children’s Little League teams, co-leads Ink Spots and Coffee Grounds—a
creative writing group, and plots his next story. The Molech Prophecy is
his first published Christian novel. Visit
him online at his Shoutlife
page & Myspace