There’s a remarkable new movie out called The Gospel of John, which has done so well in some Southern markets that it’s receiving a broader nationwide release. I saw the film last night, and I can recommend it very strongly to anyone who’s even remotely interested in the subject. It is a very literal, word-for-word dramatization of the Fourth Gospel; the location shooting was done in Spain, and the production values are impressive enough. Most important, the actor playing Jesus–Henry Ian Cusick-does a terrific job of communicating the character’s spiritual cheerfulness and human likeability. Where others have stressed his kindly seriousness (Max von Sydow in The Greatest Story Ever Told) or his tortured soul (Willem Dafoe in The Last Temptation of Christ), this movie suggests how he was able to build such a large public following in his earthly career. The movie also shows that it’s possible to render a faithful account of the Gospel narrative without presenting any anti-Semitic stereotypes. (Another cause for optimism about Mel’s movie, which comes out next spring.) To see if/when the film will be near you, check out the website.