'Son Of God' sees Diogo Morgado and Darwin Shaw return as Jesus and Peter respectively in the movie adaptation of Jesus' birth, life and death. From his birth in a stable in Bethlehem by his Virgin mother Mary, Jesus Christ comes to be revered by many as the saviour; a man with the ability to heal, walk on water and feed hundreds of men. However, for some he is a blasphemer; a false prophet who employs the Devil to perform his miracles. When one of Jesus' so-called followers Judas decides to inform his enemies of his whereabouts, Jesus allows himself to be taken, tortured and nailed to a cross - despite already knowing that he was about to be betrayed. It was an execution short-lived, however, when he defies the impossible and returns to life.
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British director Andrew Douglas (2005's Amityville Horror remake) takes a clever look at youthful naivete in this strikingly inventive thriller, which is based on a true story. Its focussed perspective lets us see the events unfold as the main character might, and watching him misinterpret everything is seriously unsettling.
That character is the cool North London teen Mark (Blackley), who avoids his annoying parents (Womack and Delamere) by hiding in his room while chatting online to local teen Rachel (Winstone). She has gone into witness protection because of her brutish boyfriend (Johnston), and she asks Mark to look out for her nerdy little brother John (Regbo), who's being bullied in school. As they hang out together, Mark and John strike up a friendship. But when Rachel disappears, Mark begins chatting online to an MI5 agent (White) who convinces him that he needs to take violent action to save lives at school.
Right from the start, we suspect that something is up with the people Mark meets in internet chatrooms. But we also understand why he doesn't question anything: the setting is 2003, rife with still-gurgling paranoia after 9/11 and Columbine. Also, the film intercuts Mark's story with the aftermath of his actions, as he's interviewed by a tenacious detective (Downton Abbey's Froggatt). So we know that we are seeing the people he's chatting to through his mind's eye, which is why director Douglas makes the eerie decision to show them talking to their computers rather than just typing. We question whether they're real, but Mark never does.
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