Release Date: October 13th, 2006 (AMC Empire 25) by 8X Entertainment.
The Cast: Tiffany Dupont, Luke Gross, John Rhys-Davis, John Noble, Tommy “Tiny” Lister, James Callis, Jonah Lotan, Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Jyoti Dogra.
Directed by Michael O. Sajbel.
BASIC PREMISE: Under the name of Esther, Hadassah (Dupont), a young Jewish peasant, becomes the wife of King Xerxes (Gross) of Persia and spares the lives of many Jews.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Half a year before the holiday of Purim comes One Night with the King based on the biblical story of Purim. The plot includes plenty of dramatic conflicts and some tension. Tiffany Dupont gives a decent performance as Hadassah who marries King Xerxes after he removes Queen Vashti (Dogra) from her throne. Mordecai (Rhys-Davies), Hadassah’s uncle suggest that she change her name to Esther, a non-Jewish name, but never to forget her Jewish heritage. When she becomes Queen, Prince Admantha (Nobles) and Hamman (Callis) come up with an evil scheme to dethrone her. For the first time since Lawrence of Arabia, Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif perform in the same movies together, but their scenes are so ephemeral that they might as well be considered cameos. Unfortunately, there are many contrived scenes and stilted dialogue that doesn’t allow the audience to care about any of the characters and makes the story less powerful. This feels too plot-driven despite having dozens of characters. On a positive note, the production values are all top notch from the lavish costume design, set design, and the impressive cinematography. At a running time of 123 minutes, One Night with the King occasionally drags and overstays its welcome.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The basic message is that it’s important to remember your heritage and to cherish it no matter what.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Occasionally contrived and stilted.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 4
IN A NUTSHELL: Beautiful cinematography and costume design, but a contrived plot with stilted dialogue weakens the story's power.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
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