Film Review: “Messiah” (2020 – ) ★★★★★

Sometimes it requires viewing more than one episode to understand whether to stick with a new show or leave it alone. But this tradition does not occur with Netflix’s “Messiah”, which is utterly brilliant. It doesn’t matter what background you’re from, your religion, or culture – this series breaks all boundaries to offer the most thought-provoking concept, no matter whoever you are, it will end up shaking you to the core.

Location: Syria. ISIL has taken over the country; people are desperate. As they flee their country, those who’re left are getting ready for a big sandstorm. However, there’s only one person who does not run away from it for his life – Al-Masih (Mehdi Dehbi), a man who calls himself a Messiah. Whether it’s a coincidence or not, his revelation saves people and creates millions of followers across the globe. “Messiah” offers multiple points of view, including that of the CIA officer, Eva Geller (Michelle Monaghan), an Israeli Shin Bet officer, Aviram Dahan (Tomer Sisley), a Latino preacher and his Texan daughter, a Palestinian refugee, and more.

When we first meet the young CIA agent, Eva Geller, she is going through her own personal matters. We learn that she has had multiple miscarriages and her husband has died. As there is a lot to be revealed about her, one thing is never in doubt about her: she is indeed a smart woman who won’t give up until she completes her task. When we meet Jibril (Sayyid El Alami), he had just buried his mother who was killed by a bomb. As he looks around, he finds his city in ruins. ISIL is getting ready for a final attack to take over Damascus. This is when we get the first glimpse of Al-Masih, whom the Middle East will soon proclaim as a Messiah.

Generating worldwide disruption, media attention, and millions of followers, the young man calmly takes the people towards Jerusalem. A Texan preacher is about to lose his faith; he is ready to burn the church that should have been brought to him peace of mind when a hurricane strikes a small city. Thinking that he might lose his daughter to the natural disaster, Al-Masih, or Messiah, appears right before the storm to save the girl. Now he has U.S. attention, apart from that of the entire world. Eva and Avi do not believe that he is what people claim him to be. Both take this news differently; one, in a desperate attempt, will do everything to stop his mind from going crazy, while Eva goes towards the madness, as she deepens her investigation to find a logical closure to the man that many consider as a Second Coming.

There is a lot to chew on. A lot to be taken from the series created by Michael Petroni. Certain scenes are so provocative that some people may find it offensive. But if you keep an open mind, it will pass through flawlessly leaving no doubt in mind. For instance, let’s say, there’s a Messiah existing. If yes, what would be our reaction? How would you take such shocking news? Would you sit down and continue watching live broadcast or follow the man wherever he goes? “Messiah” explores different angles showing how some people take advantage of it, how poor an innocent people get brainwashed, and how easily people, without proper validation of news, fall for It as if it was a trap.

In the end, “Messiah” is a type of show that will keep you guessing all the way till the end. As we watch someone who is believed to be sent by God, we develop our own point of view, the same as the one whose life we watch unfold right before our eyes. From start to end, it keeps the suspense alive. The absolutely mind-blowing performance from the entire cast including Michelle Monaghan, Mehdi Dehbi as Messiah, and Romer Sisley is incredibly believable. As the series continues to question the faith of people, it goes beyond our understanding by creating the universal world of idea and how we follow it, what we do with this and how we build our life around it.

It’s indeed shocking, scary but beautiful as well because we all are like toys in the hand of a mastermind, whoever that individual is, who can play with any information he or she wants. We just go after it to catch as fast as we can as if our lives depended on it. This is why this series is a great warning to all of us, how to be smart, prepared, and be cautious for our own sake. Because if not us, who else would be willing to protect everyone from widespread propaganda that can easily destroy lives?

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