Being the Son of God can be a son of a bitch
When Sally (Gemma Deerfield) has a run-in with a local pub bully she is helped out by Jay (Simon Phillips), a slightly wet character who means well. Then it becomes Sallys turn to help Jay, whose full name turns out to be Jesus.
When Sally returns to the pub the following day to retrieve Jays wallet, she runs into a large and dangerous cowboy dude (Danny Idollor) who is looking for Jay. And if Jay is Jesus, then the Messiah is here to make sure that he finally goes through with his crucifixion.
Of course, none of this is immediately apparent to Sally – who also has her own reasons for not wanting to be found – and she and Jay head north.
Although Sally is a very well grounded character, there is a deliberate element of uncertainty about both Jay and the Messiah. Writer/director, Alan Ronald has been very careful to avoid giving any clear indication as to whether the two men really are who they think they are or whether Sally has managed to get herself caught up in someone elses delusion. That said, I found it very easy to buy into Jay as Jesus on the run and I had no problem accepting The Messiah as, well, The Messiah.
This probably says something about me, but it also says a lot about how well written the main characters are. All three of these individuals are very well drawn, completely rounded, and thoroughly believable. All of this makes for some very engaging characters who very quickly draw you in to their world and keep you wanting to know how things are going to pan out.
It helps, of course, that the acting is so strong throughout. All three of the main cast – and the more minor characters, for that matter – put in excellent performances and really do bring their characters consistently to life.
Jesus Versus the Messiah is a very character centred film, and this approach allows the plot to flow in a very natural manner. Nothing is forced and, by allowing the story to emerge from the developing relationships between the characters, Alan Ronald manages to maintain a narrative that remains consistent, believable and utterly enthralling.
When all of this is combined with a collection of great one-liners, and a genuinely moving ending you have a film that is well worth tracking down.