I’ll admit that faith-based material isn’t always the most attractive prospect for me. Sure, you have your Last Temptation of Christ‘s and your Passion of the Christ‘s, but His story is one that doesn’t particularly entice me; most likely born from my personal relation to religion as a whole.
That being said I certainly won’t take away a filmmaker’s desire to tell their own story regarding Christ and the message He stood for, so as much as something like The Chosen didn’t personally appeal to me, I took the project on board with an open view.
Initially there was a wave of doubt that lingered over The Chosen as its 8-episodic arc began with a rather drawn out first episode that suggested this was a show that was not going to detail its story in a plucky manner. It became evident though that this was a project that very much cared about its characters (creator, director, and co-writer Dallas Jenkins based it off his own viral-success short film The Shepherd), and in making Jesus Christ less a focal point from a portrayed character perspective and letting the story flow more through those that met Him, it adopted a unique identity in the process.
Another reason that the first episode isn’t the best judgement of the series as a whole is that it was produced in 2017, with the remaining narratives more recently created across 2019 following a mass-crowdfunding practice that raised in excess of $13 million across 6,000 investors; the faith-based market clearly capitalising on a genre that the industry vastly overlooks.
For audiences that are religious, The Chosen is likely to prove a worthy investment of time. The conversations throughout are intricately detailed as each character unveils their own internal struggles, and the political divide between the classes further discloses a more exhaustive environment than what general stories around Christ and his followers tend to characterise.
Given it is a crowdfunded series at heart however, it isn’t without its faults as the budget restraints prove evident in the set and costume departments at times, and the acting isn’t always the most subtle (not surprising considering how unknown most of the cast are) but this ultimately feels more circumstantial than intentional.
Whilst The Chosen isn’t a show I’ll personally rewatch, I certainly won’t take away from the production the fact that it was surprisingly engaging. A series that deepens with interest the further it goes along, Jenkins’ passion and belief is admirable, both in his ability to skewer a narrative that seems so structured and in his determination to have that narrative be heard.
THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)