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Barabbas (2012)
  • Director:
    Roger Young
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Salvatore Basile,Pär Lagerkvist
  • Cast:
    Billy Zane,Cristiana Capotondi,Filippo Nigro
  • Time:
    3h 20min
  • Budget:
  • Year:
Billy Zane stars as Barabbas--the man whose life was spared because of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Based on the Nobel Prize in Literature winning novel by Par Lagerkvist, Barabbas is a story rooted in the Bible which will come to life on REELZ as a four-hour miniseries and tells the ultimate story of redemption. Barabbas was shot on location in Tunisia and is directed by Emmy Award winner Roger Young.
Credited cast:
Billy Zane Billy Zane - Barabbas
Cristiana Capotondi Cristiana Capotondi - Ester
Filippo Nigro Filippo Nigro - Pontius Pilate
Anna Valle Anna Valle - Claudia
Tommaso Ramenghi Tommaso Ramenghi - Dan
Hristo Shopov Hristo Shopov - Kedar
Marco Foschi Marco Foschi - Jesus
Paolo Seganti Paolo Seganti - Valerio Flacco
Franco Castellano Franco Castellano - Pietro
Giampiero Judica Giampiero Judica - Iezer
Valentina Carnelutti Valentina Carnelutti - Maria
Matteo Branciamore Matteo Branciamore - Giuda
Diego D'Elia Diego D'Elia - Sahak
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lorenzo Balducci Lorenzo Balducci - Lazzaro
Nejib Belhassen Nejib Belhassen - Soldier

Barabbas (2012)

Hristo Shopov plays Kedar in the show, the leader of Zealots who wants nothing more than to bring down the Romans and he recruits Barabbas (Billy Zane) to help him. In The Passion of the Christ (2004) he appeared as a Roman general, Pontious Pilate, this time he supervises the procedure of trials involving both Jesus and Barabbas.

I'm a Roman/Judean history nut, so when this came out, I had to see it. Three hours later, I have mixed thoughts.

The Good: the plot! It has its shaky moments but overall, this is a decent script. Barabbas comes across as a cynical, self-serving man who undergoes a change of heart and finds redemption. Pilate's wife, Claudia, also has a decent role, far bigger than any other depiction of her ever made—although I can't say the end of her story made me happy! Wandering in and out of different biblical events was also fun.

The Strange: can someone explain to me why Pilate has a beard? It wasn't fashionable for Romans at the time. He's also much too short to be a believable governor, considering Barabbas is about a foot taller. Why does Ester one minute tell Barabbas fornication is a sin against God, then turns around awhile later after following Jesus around and fornicates with him? Also, even though thirty years have passed by the end (which the film doesn't tell us, and most people ignorant of the time period wouldn't know), no one gets any older except Peter… why is that? The Bad: the acting! I'm not sure if it was foreigners struggling to speak in English rather than Italian that turned in such a crop of mediocre and sometimes downright painful performances, or that they just have no talent, but almost no one in this production is memorable. Zane is better than most but still hams it up a bit; I also wonder why Hristo Shopov is wasted in a minor role. He's played Pilate twice before (in Mel Gibson's film, and in a foreign follow-up), so it's strange they wouldn't let him do it again, particularly given that he has five times the presence and "governor-ness" than "this" Pilate. Also, something is "off" in this Jesus, but I'm not sure what; it's slightly creepy in places.

The Result: is a decent film hampered by its low production values; if you can overlook that, it's enjoyable, moving, and quite often surprising in where it leads.
it is an TV religious movie like many others. the sins are not very great, the performance is not bad and Billy Zane has the chance to do a credible character. the game with the New Testament facts is regrettable but seems be only part of director vision about subject. the serious problem remains the dialogs and not the best choice for Jesus role. but for a hunter of Bible adaptations is a nice title. maybe for the force of few images, the acting of some actors or for the atmosphere. only observation - it is an inspired option to not have great expectations. because it is only a common religious film, not the best novel adaptation but good occasion to remember an old useful story about search of faith.
it is his film. and that is the virtue and the sin of movie. because Billy Zane, far to be Anthony Quinn, does a decent job looking to explore his characters nuances. but the script and many actors are not the most inspired choices. sure, it is a nice adaptation of a great novel. a religious film who has not the ambition to be great. a picture of a time, a way and a discovery . the history of a man's change. few beautiful scenes, the landscapes and the desire to suggest more than present are the good points. but maybe not enough for define Barabbas more than a TV exercise to remind a book. because, after its end, Billy Zane seems not be only the lead actor but the only actor. because the realism used in few scenes not covers the absence of convincing dialogues.so, an adaptation of Barabbas. not the best.
I only saw part of this--near the beginning, but it looked like Billy Zane was having some real fun chewing the scenery. I found that surprising considering the subject matter seems to call for a more somber treatment. (Enjoyed seeing it none the less, and Zane will be the reason I see this in its entirety at some point--I loved the long hair and the bellowing--and the quips, though they probably don't belong here.)

The production values were such that I wish I could have seen this in high def. I appreciated the inclusion of both the Jewish 'rebel' and Roman points of view, while also touching on the plight of the slaves, the impoverished and the diseased. (Though I don't know how deeply the film went on any of these matters.)

I don't know how this ended, but I hope things worked out well for young Ester and old Barabbas!
I was hoping this movie would be better than it is. Even if you don't know the book or the 1962 film version, this movie still has to be disappointing.

It is very loosely based on Pär Lagerkvist novella, which tells the story of Barabbas, the bandit who was chosen over Jesus Christ by the people of Jerusalem when given the choice of releasing one prisoner during Passover.

Pär Lagerkvist novel is a moving and thoughtful work. The 1962 Dino De Laurentiis production, although it added a great deal of action to the story, caught the tone of the novel, emerging as a moody, almost surreal epic.

Unlike the book and De Laurentiis' movie, this made for television version starts before the crucifixion. We quickly learn that Barabbas (Billy Zane) is a real tearaway. He either hangs out at a brothel in town or with his gang in the hills. If they'd packed six-guns back then, he'd have shot up the place. Although the Zealots are involved in guerrilla warfare against the Romans, Barabbas is more interested in holding up the odd caravan or two.

There are a number of lacklustre sword fights with the Romans - the production seems a little light on extras - and Barabbas and his crew cook up a scam to rob the promoter of a local gladiatorial show. This sequence, more than any other, undermines the film. Seemingly inspired by the "Spartacus" TV series, it's unbelievable and is reminiscent of the ridiculous action that used to turn up in the old Italian sword and sandal movies of the 50's and 60's.

Eventually Barabbas is caught. Condemned to death then spared while Christ is crucified, Barabbas starts to question why he escaped death, and meets Christians whose faith seems indestructible. Although this crisis of conscience could have given the film a little depth especially after he learns of Christ's resurrection, the script goes off on another flight of fancy, as Barabbas becomes Barabbas PI.

After dressing up in Roman uniform he interrogates the soldiers who were on guard at the tomb of Jesus. Arriving in Rome after a side trip as a slave in a copper mine, Barabbas is sent undercover by Pontius Pilot to find his niece who has become a Christian, knowing that the sect is about to be blamed for burning Rome. However Barabbas inadvertently betrays them. He lands in prison awaiting execution. The last few scenes have the gravitas lacking in the rest of the film as Barabbas sacrifices himself and is then crucified.

Filmed in Tunisia, the scenery looks authentic enough although the film lacks scope and size. But it's the uneven script that sinks it, with much borrowed from other films - not all good ones. A pity really, because Billy Zane actually made a pretty good Barabbas.
Easter is dawning, and right now I'm going on an Easter film marathon, and I happened to stumble over this film. I am sad to of, because I have experienced a horribly put together film because of it.

The faked accents for the Romans were absolute rubbish, I found myself rolling my eyes continuously as they kept yapping away as if they were in some sort of kid's cartoon. The accents sounded so fake, that I just had to cover my ears at times to stop myself from laughing at the completely horrible acting...and I thought 1985's Revolution had bad accents!

This film had an incredible huge amount of clichés. It's like the filmmakers haven't even read the Bible, because this film is completely out of spirit of it. There is loud, blockbuster music in this film (which is one cliché I really despise) and it is completely out of tone of what the Bible is. Also, I watched the film and I counted 37 clichés, which I won't bother to list. The dialogue in this film is mostly clichéd as well.

Did I mention how bad the acting was?

I can't believe that Billy Zane signed up for this cliché rubbish.

The film that this film was aiming for was a blockbuster. I don't like the style of blockbusters, and I'm a bit fussy when it comes to them, but I congratulate the director, I guess, for actually succeeding in what he was aiming for. Just a quick tip, Roger Young: don't aim for blockbusters. Aim for a good film, with good pacing and a fine soundtrack. This film, unfortunately, has bad pacing and a cliché, loud, blaring soundtrack because you wanted a blockbuster. I hope you're happy.

So, hmmm...now to list something good about this film.

Well, all the basic ingredients were there. The camera-work, the sound design and the costume design were all well done, so at least the film got that right. But the substance of the film is horrible, completely out of tone of the Bible, and not deserving of it's length. I rate this a 4.1/10, not a 3.1/10, because I think that if you are into those blockbusters you get in the mainstream cinema, you'll probably really enjoy this. If you, however, are looking for a good quality film with good actors, avoid this. If you are a TRUE Christian who has read the whole Bible, I'm pretty sure you won't like this, either.

If you're looking for an Easter film with quality, watch 2014's The Saviour.
Billy Zane (from Titanic) does a decent job as Barabbas in this TV remake of the one made a few decades ago in the swords and sandals era (Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, Spartacus "I'm Spartacus!!!", "No I am!!! "No wait, I'm Spartacus!!!). I haven't seen the original one so I wasn't sure what to expect.

The scenery was quite impressive and almost quite authentic, and Billy's range of emotions came through. I sometimes how many people on set are born again Christians, but they contributed well to this production that explores the life of Barabbas who was spared from crucifixion, and instead Jesus Christ was sent to the cross to die for the sins of the world. The movie doesn't explore the resurrection of God's Son, but it covers well what could have been with Barabbas.