copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

Firstly, please note this is mostly a review for the English version of the film, because, ladies and gentleman, the maker of this movies shot this film twice, once with Arabic actors and once with English speaking actors. That is the kind of dedication that was put into this project. From the start of the film there is a note that Al-Azhar University approves the historical value of the movie. People took this job seriously and it shows in the final product.

I expected the film to be in Arabic with English subtitles and was disappointed to see a large amount of exceedingly white "Arabs" in the main role. But that did not detract from the quality of the film or its message. The English speaking actors are not well known, but all give good performances.

There is a certain Greek actress, Irene Papas, who plays the wife of one of the tribe leaders and she is something fierce. She has a beautiful wrathful gaze and with those acting skills and face her name should really be bigger in the West.

I eventually briefly viewed the Arabic version of the film and it looks of equal quality. The acting is different but still good.

Because the makers were not allowed to show Mohammed, the prophet, it gives the movie a unique angle but also a unique awkwardness. The first time the story introduced the presence of Mohammed it was confusing. You stare and wonder what is going on until you realise that, oh OK, these people were just reacting to his presence.

People speaking to Mohammed are often speaking to the cameraman, and thus to the viewer. Mohammed does not speak, even though people speak to him. So it feels like you are the silent protagonist in an adventure game. You must agree, it is a bit odd to have a main character who does not appear in his own movie even once. I mean it is pretty cool that these guys think that I am Mohammed, but I would prefer not to get dragged into the whole birth of Islam thing if you do not mind.

Please note that this film cannot avoid being a religion pusher, just like any Jesus film would be, but of course any viewer already knows that going in, and if you can make peace with that idea, what awaits you is a pretty epic movie, with clashes of character, faith and sword. It is a very coherent, well shot movie, rival to the best of Christian epics.

The Message