Austin Film Festival 2015 Review: LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT

By Liz Lopez

Rating: B

Last Days in the Desert premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and then the Austin Film Festival’s 2015 film slate in the Marquee Features included this seventh feature by writer/director Rodrigo Garcia (Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her, Mother and Child). Luckily for those of us who attended the festival last fall, we were able to view Ewan McGregor’s great dual performance of Jesus (Yeshua) and Satan in this drama set in a time before Jesus began his ministry. It is a very quiet, subdued script with limited dialogue, and this may not appeal to viewers who prefer plenty of sound/action as seen in other films released this year.

One of the very significant aspects of this production is the cinematography by Oscar winning Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant, Gravity, Birdman, The Tree of Life) where he captures the beautiful landscape of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Southern California for scenes of Yeshua in Israel. Anyone familiar with Lubezki’s camera work will likely be willing to pay the price of admission at the theater to enjoy the cinematography that supports excellent dramatic performances by McGregor, Ciaran Hinds and Tye Sheridan, as well as supporting actresses, Ayelet Zurer and Susan Gray.

In his journey, Yeshua (McGregor) encounters a family; a father (Ciaran Hinds), his wife (Ayelet Zurer) and son (Sheridan) living in isolation. This is the part of the film that contains some of the dialogue and the appearance of Satan. It is during his stay with this family that he learns about their struggles and challenges including an extremely ill wife.

Run time: 99 minutes and it is rated PG 13.

Source: Broad Green Pictures

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