But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
To a contemporary audience, conditioned to accept previously unimaginable degrees of screen and television carnage, this “Ben-Hur” feels disturbingly and appropriately up to date. What makes it all the more horrific is the film’s lack of a strong redemptive counternarrative and the absence of even a pretense of holiness. At the very end, it timidly tries to preach a message about revenge and forgiveness, but its heart just isn’t in it. Violence is its calling card.
What is “Ben-Hur” without a platform of moral grandeur? Not much.
-Stephen Holden ‘Review: ‘Ben-Hur’ Is a Savage Update for a New Generation‘ The New York Times