One Night with the King Michael O. Sajbel

So Rupert Murdoch has a new label for Christians — "Fox Faith” it’s called — and it apparently extends to boring historical epics like this would-be spectacle with its roots in The Book of Esther. That book’s eponymous Jewish heroine, played with maximum earnestness here by Tiffany DuPont, in turn inspired the novel that spawned the movie, which imagines the intrigue that surrounded her marriage to King Xerxes of Persia (a benumbed Luke Goss). It’s touch and go as she’s wrenched from her household (presided over by father John Rhys-Davies at his most tired), is forced to hide her ethnic origin and wins the heart of Xerxes, who’s being led into a plot to slaughter the Jews for their ties to those democratic no-goodniks in Greece. Will she risk her life to save her people? One is initially thankful that the film doesn’t offer fire and brimstone moralising but that would have been preferable to the nothing that fills the void. Lazily written, chaotically acted and costumed with the verisimilitude of a church Christmas pageant, the film skirts camp only to collapse into tedium and apathy. It’s made by people with only a cursory interest in cinema (and not that much interest in religion), cashing paycheques on the backs of the suckers who will think this good, clean family entertainment. I’m guessing an intelligent Christian would find this a serious annoyance, as it is worthless as both a movie and spiritual experience. Mostly, it’s a make-work project that’s designed to reel in an untapped market rather than deal with any moral issues or simply bring The Bible to life. (Fox)