Here it is again – the story of Jesus. How can you not know this story already? Supposed Son of God born to a virgin mother, grew up preaching the good word until he sacrifices himself for all of mankind. “Son of Man” takes the story of the Messiah and throws it into a war zone-riddled country in Africa. Some of the details have been modernized as well but that is to be accepted. For instance, the manger so remembered for housing Mary during the birth process is replaced with a tool shed.
Jesus isn’t characterized with white skin or a beard, as he is so frequently portrayed. An African American without the long hair and beard plays the Son of God in this film.
Preventing this film from being more successful is the fact other than those changes; it still isn’t as refreshing as it tries to be. The story of Jesus is one of the most influential and inspiring tales to a countless number of people. Even those people can’t want to see it every single day told in countless fashions, do they? For having a background in theater, director Mark Dornford-May executes some fine cinematic sensibilities. Standing back from the typical point-and-shoot style cinematography other theater directors lean toward (the remake of “The Producers” is a perfect example) Dornford-May’s spirit prevents this from being totally dreadful. Too bad they weren’t focused on a something more original.
Although “Son of Man” steers itself away from preachy, it is definitely designed for a specific audience. The religious set will certainly enjoy this vividly colorful new take on Jesus but the film sort of limits itself from the rest of us. There is some violence, though that level never comes close to exceeding the bar set by “The Passion of the Christ.”