If Lin-Manuel Miranda can update the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton as a hip hop and R&B, pop and soul-infused musical, then why not the amazing journey of Jesus?
That’s the question asked and passionately answered by director Daniel Green, who made his theatrical debut with the Dylan McDermott (you know me: if Dylan’s in it, I see it) and Snoop Dogg (he’s very good) drama The Tenants (2005). Since then . . . you’ve watched a lot of Daniel Green’s work as a Second Unit or Assistant Director; nothing too earth-shattering, just little films like Daredevil, Hollywood Homicide, Jeepers Creepers 2, The Scorpion King, and J.J Abrams’s Star Trek.
To compare Green’s gospel interpretation to the The Wiz (1978), the stage-to-film productions of Godspell (1973) and Jesus Christ Superstar (1973), or Patrick McGoohan’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello as Catch My Soul (1974), is a disservice. Revival isn’t just a Broadway stage/Hollywood musical amalgamate. It’s a meta-theatrical, multi-media fever dream with a soupcon of cinèma vèritè as it goes behind the stage and back in time as an actor portraying Jesus (GMA Dove winner and Grammy nominated Mali Music) in a stage production of “Revival,” discovers his own spiritual growth—with a soundtrack scored by gospel great Donald Lawrence—as he performs the Book of John’s Resurrection story.
The center of attention of this masterwork is the casting of Harry Lennix as Pontius Pilate, the governor of the Roman province of Judaea, and as the host-narrator of “Revival,” the stage production. You’ve seen Lennix light up the screen with his work on network television with his starring roles as a cast member on The Blacklist, Billions, 24, and you’ve seen him on Hallmark’s reruns of Diagnosis Murder. Oh, and he was Commander Lock in the Matrix trilogy. Yeah, I knew that’d get your attention.
So when a film brings you the pedigree of Daniel Green and Harry Lennix, you watch. And have your soul uplifted at the same time.
Revival makes its debut Easter Sunday through TriCoast Entertainment on all the usual PPV and VOD platforms via Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, and Vimeo on Demand. You can also purchase DVDs at Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.
Here’s the rest of the great films released under the Rock Salt Releasing/TriCoast Worldwide co-banner we’ve reviewed:
Agatha Christine: Spy Next Door
Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids
Bombshells and Dollies
It All Begins with a Song
Lone Star Deception
My Hindu Friend
The Soul Collector
Disclaimer: We were provided a screener by the film’s P.R firm. That has no bearing on our review.
About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies and publishes on Medium.