Review Roundup: Ben-Hur

The classic 1959 film has been reimagined for a more modern audience – but can it win over the critics? 

The Guardian: * “Bekmambetov’s direction has nothing in the way of nuance or ordinary human light-and-shade: it feels like the action-heavy template for a videogame.”

Financial Times: * “if you hoped the famous chariot race would save the day, I’m just going to stop typing now and quietly edge out of the door.”

Irish Times: ** “somehow, Ben-Hur 2016 feels longer and duller than its predecessor.”

The Arts Desk: “it doesn’t remotely outstrip the astonishing technical achievements of films shot nearly 90 and 60 years ago.”

Den of Geek: ** “other than one water-borne sequence, there is little to raise you out of your slouch. Bekmambetov’s vision is not as grand or impressive as he may imagine.”

The Telegraph: *** “an odd diet of sincerity and spectacle that nonetheless hits some kind of spot.”

Radio Times: *** “At best this version of Ben-Hur (also filmed in 1925, from Lew Wallace’s novel) is decent popcorn entertainment with an exciting re-creation of the famous chariot race that, surprisingly, avoids looking too much like a video game.”

The Upcoming: ** “It’s too flat, it’s too fake and, at 123 minutes, it’s too fast, like a miniseries on fast-forward.”

Ben Hur is in cinemas now. 

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