Valdosta Daily Times


October 18, 2006

‘A Night With the King’ review

‘A Night With the King’ (Period Drama/Religious: 2 hours, 2 minutes); Starring: Tiffany Dupont, Luke Goss, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, James Callis, John Rhys-Davies and Omar Sharif; Director: Michael O. Sajbel.

Movie Review: The life of Hadassah (Dupont), a young Jewish woman, is chronicled as she moves from being the peasant Hadassah, the daughter of royal scribe Mordecai (Rhys-Davies), to being Esther, the queen of Persia and wife of King Xerxes (Goss). Through acts of bravery, Esther saves the Jewish nation from annihilation at the hands of its archenem,y Hamen (‘Battlestar Galactica’s’ Callis). Michael O. Sajbel (‘Come the Morning,’ 1993, and ‘Reluctant Prophet,’ 1995) gives audiences another lesson-learned, religious-type film; this one based on the novel ‘Hadassah: One Night with the King’ by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen. A film with so much to admire, yet it leaves much to be desired. The eye-catching costumes and sets of ‘One Night’ are artsy, and worthy of taking one’s mind to a state of fantastical relaxation. Each scene has its own style of beauty. The background works. It is what goes on in the foreground that fails. The scenes appear rushed, missing moments to shine with good, suspenseful drama. Each also appears as if made for television, with pauses for commercials already in place. Tiffany Dupont (televison’s ‘The Bedford Diaries’) works as Queen Esther. Her calming beauty is sensual relaxation. It is understandable why King Xerxes wanted her as his wife. The romance between Dupont’s Esther and Luke Goss’ Xerxes is played out in story-book style. It just never becomes absorbing. Another notable and interesting relationship exists between Dupont’s Esther and Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister’s Hagai. Esther and Hagai become surprising friends, and Lister proves acting may be his calling after all. The cast is a beautiful and talented yet no time is given to get to know them. Omar Sharif and Peter O’Toole in a cameo as Samuel the Prophet, both ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (1962) cast alumni, give on-screen moments, along with John Rhys-Davies as Mordecai, their best, but their efforts are not enough to save this biblical film which plays out like a mild soap opera. Scratch that, even soap operas are more engaging.

Grade: C (A minimal royal treat)

Adann-Kennn Alexxandar is a contributing writer to Valdosta-Lowndes County Preview and The Valdosta Daily Times.

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