Ben-Hur (2016) Film4, Screenplay by Keith Clarke and John Ridley, Based on Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880) novel by Lew Wallace, Directed by Timur Bekmambetov

I was flicking through the channels. I couldn’t understand why they were putting Ben-Hur on in a premium time slot. I’d fond memories of Ben-Hur, being generally a sucker for Biblical epics when I was a kid in the La Scala. The type where Jesus’s shadow touches Victor Mature’s face in The Robe. I can’t really remember what happened next. No doubt he went on to bring down the Roman Empire, without actually killing anyone. Ben-Hur is easy. It’s all about Charlton Heston. Whether he’s playing Moses, or Prince Judah Ben-Hur he’s much the same as the son of god. A bit like a sixties Morgan Freeman, but when being black was against the law.

  Morgan Freeman pops up here as Sheik Ilderim as Morgan not so Freeman. Everyone is under the yoke of Roman occupation. A bit like Palestinians, but 2000 or more years ago, when it was a crime to be a Zealot. They were classified as the terrorists of their day.

It’s all about the race at the end. White horses versus Black horses. A googly-eyed Sheik Ilderim had Charlton Heston riding against Rome. He was never going to lose.

Jack Huston as Judah Ben-Hur can never win against Charlton Heston’s version of events. One of the few occasions where the sixties screenplay and film starring right-wing nut job Charlton Heston was much better than the book.

The 2016 version had me hoping the black horses would win so I could get home early, and I was already home.