My admittedly bad Martin Scorsese take

Willem Dafoe in Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ
Pictured: Willem Dafoe in Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ
// Martin Scorsese is overrated. Fight me
Adam Smith
Nov 06, 2023
Icon Time To Read2 min read
Published on November 05, 2023

Cinema royalty Martin Scorsese’s new film, Killers of the Flower Moon, has opened to rave reviews. I’ll definitely see it, because I’m intrigued by the subject matter. But, at the risk of sounding like Comic Book Guy, I have a deeply contrarian opinion about Scorsese as a director.

I know, I know. I’m alone on this one. I just find his style brash and over the top, and the man has yet to find a piece of symbolism he doesn’t bludgeon the audience over the head with (seriously? The rat at the end of The Departed?). I’ve genuinely enjoyed a lot of his movies for the story, but I’m inevitably annoyed by his directorial flourishes. In my mind, the only thing that separates him from Michael Bay is better scripts.

Wow. Even I can’t believe I just said that. It borders on blasphemy. But, speaking of blasphemy, there is one Scorsese film I consider an absolute masterpiece: The Last Temptation of Christ.

The film caused furious protests when it was released in 1988, but seems comparatively tame by today’s standards. It presents a “what if” scenario wherein Jesus Christ is able to see what might have been if he had forsaken his mission and lived a normal life. Putting aside the problematic casting of a white dude (the reliably awesome Willem Dafoe) as Jesus, the film is beautiful, poignant and delightfully weird. It’s the movie that should’ve won Scorsese the Best Director Academy Award.

So, even if you disagree with my admittedly out-there opinion on Scorsese, take the time to check out The Last Temptation of Christ.

You can rent it on Prime Video, Apple TV or Google Play.

The film was Scorsese’s dream project, and his love for it shows in every frame.

A black and white magnifying glass

Enough! Find salvation in these Scorsese classics:


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Adam Smith
Written by
Adam Smith has been a journalist for the past 18 years, writing on subjects as varied as music, entertainment, finance and technology. Since moving to Australia from Kentucky (before you ask, yes, he knows the secret recipe) by way of New Zealand, Adam has led an editorial team at Finder, launched editorial operations at Freelancer.com and hosted podcasts about personal finance, streaming, emo music, the crypto craze and the award-nominated We Review Stuff podcast. These days, Adam spends most of his time behind the scenes managing the team of reviewers on Reviews.org but he will occasionally pop in to spin wild conspiracy theories about Chris Messina being a glitch in the simulation in The Watchlist newsletter.

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