Timur Bekmambetov (2016)

12A Certificate


Our Score
While there is nothing particularly awful about this remake of the 1959 classic, the brash, breakneck style - obviously geared towards a young, modern audience - renders it less epic. At best this version of Ben-Hur (also filmed in 1925, from Lew Wallace's novel) is decent popcorn, with an exciting and brutal re-creation of the famous chariot race which, surprisingly, doesn't look like a computer game. Jack Huston (British grandson of director John Huston) lacks the imposing presence of Charlton Heston, but he does cut a dashing figure in his own, quiet way as the Jewish prince reduced to a slave by the man he considered a brother, Roman officer Messala (Toby Kebbell). Director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) is clearly more at home with the action scenes than the human drama, and his drive for a grittier telling of the story dampens its power somewhat. Rodrigo Santoro is almost too human as Jesus whose sacrifice underscores the thin line between love and hate. Morgan Freeman could have phoned in his performance as the impresario who steers Ben-Hur to revenge and redemption in a chariot, but Huston stands firm and some viewers may appreciate the brisk pace.


Falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman and officer in the Roman army, returns to his homeland after years at sea to seek revenge. However, he instead finds redemption. Director Timur Bekmambetov's version of Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell and Rodrigo Santoro.

Cast & Crew

Judah Ben-Hur Jack Huston
Messala Toby Kebbell
Sheik Ilderim Morgan Freeman
Esther Nazanin Boniadi
Naomi Ayelet Zurer
Jesus Rodrigo Santoro
Tirzah Sofia Black-D'Elia
Pontius Pilate Pilou Asbaek
Quintus James Cosmo
Director Timur Bekmambetov
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: ParamountGuidance: Edited for violence.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 7 Sep 2016