Posted by martinteller on March 16, 2007
This was a whole lot better than I anticipated. I really feared I was in for 197 minutes of dreadful boredom, but it was pretty entertaining. The Babylonian stuff is knockout — wonderful costumes, a nice pair of romances, a spunky main character, lots of action and intrigue, an air of exoticism, a flaming machine of death, and some absolutely astonishing sets. The other good story here is the modern one, which is a little predictable and melodramatic, but it’s touching, doesn’t waste time, and makes its point well enough. Those two get (by far) the most screen time, which is just as well because I had no interest in either the Jesus tale or the French tale. But I appreciated their presence in the overall scheme of things. The way Griffith edits them together is intriguing and undoubtedly innovative as all get-out for its time, especially the notion of speeding up the inter-story edits as the stories reach a climax.
Although the themes here are agreeable, let’s not forget that this is the same guy who previously did Birth of a Nation. Not only that, but this was a response to those critics who were “intolerant” of Griffith’s racist work! Talk about hypocrisy. Rating: 8