As speculative theological history, it’s fairly intriguing; as a piece of filmmaking, not so much. Adapting an Anne Rice novel, director Cyrus Nowrasteh and his wife/co-writer Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh contemplate pivotal moments in the life of 7-year-old Jesus (Adam Greaves-Neal), as Mary (Sara Lazzaro) and Joseph (Vincent Walsh) return to Nazareth from the family’s exile in Alexandria. The story presents this non-Biblical material as a spin on contemporary hero narrative, as the young boy wonders about the source of the abilities that make him unique, and which his parents believe he can’t yet understand. But that central story is folded into a sub-plot about a Roman centurion (Sean Bean) tasked by the young King Herod with finding the boy who survived the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem, and thus too often loses track of the central emotional/spiritual conflict through the need to create physical conflict. Throw in ill-advised choices like a bleached-blond personification of Satan (Rory Keenan) and a generally workmanlike pacing, and you’ve got a movie that can’t entirely lock into its most compelling angle: how a human family wrestles with being part of a divine plan.
Director: Cyrus Nowrasteh
Producer: Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe, Michael Barnathan, Tracy Price, Mark Shaw, Enzo Sisti, William Andrew, Mark Burton, Miky Lee, Tae-sung Jeong, Ashok Amritraj, Andrew Spaulding and Richard Sandfer
Cast: Adam Greaves-Neal, Sara Lazzaro, Vincent Walsh, Finn Ireland, Christian McKay, Agni Scott, Jane Lapotaire, Duné Medros, Rory Keenan, Sean Bean and Jonathan Bailey