Movie Review: ‘CHOSEN’ Season 1 Episode 1, Directed by Dallas Jenkins


Reviewed By Oris Daniel

The Chosen is based on the true stories of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some locations and timelines have been combined and condensed. Backstories and some characteristics or dialogue have been added. Biblical and historical context and artistic imagination are designed to support the truth and intentions of the scriptures. Viewers are however encouraged to read the gospel.

Oris Daniel

So as the episode is about to begin, the above ☝☝text is displayed on our screens just before the opening credits to give a clear insight as to what the concept of Chosen series is all about.

So thoughtful of the creator of the series if you ask me, as this closed many gaps that would have been in my mind. Hmmm I can imagine if there was no such prior clarity and explanation about the concept of the movie.

This would have caused serious chaos along the story as we proceed, as there will be alot of questions like, why are the cast speaking like they are in the 21st century? Why are the casts in supposed Jesus film using certain vocabularies that are used even in 2023 to depict a story of over 2000 years ago?.

Why are our costumes not matching the vocabularies? These and many more I would have asked if not for the explanation above. Indeed the note was well placed. Thank you to the director for averting this confusion.

Now Chosen Season one, episode one, tells the story of two brothers struggling with their tax while a woman in the Red Quarter struggles with her Demons.

the episode tells the story of Rabbi Nicodemus who was a great teacher he travels all the way from Judea to Carpernaum. He was the leader of the Pharisees teacher of Israel.

Quintus stops Nicodemus abruptly on his journey, tells him about how taxes are going unpaid and says if he helps him, he will help the Pharisees continue to thrive. Nicodemus responds, how can he? When the people are already drowning in tax.

On another side of the story, Mathew a wealthy tax collector is seen sneaking into Capernaum in a cart so he is not spotted, easily seen or recognized by anyone. He finally arrives Capernaum in the middle of the market, gets down and gradually sneaks out of the cart and sneaks in to meet Gaius.

The great Rabbi Nicodemus arrives Capernaum as well. He is seen sited with the Junior teachers he jokingly tells them he always looks forward to his annual visit to Capernaum and their magnificent sea of Galilee.

He says further that its the envy of the kingdom and that they boast of the most exquisite fishes. Of course, the junior teachers are happy. They burst into laughter and clapping for themselves until Rabbi Nicodemus pauses a little, looks at them one after the other and says,

those who do the actual fishing among them are unholy, foul mouthed, giving to gambling in secret dens, and even fishing on Sabbath which was his biggest concern, as it was forbidden for them to fish on the sabbath.

Nicodemus goes for a meeting with Rabbi Shummual and his students, he still cautions them of going on fishing on the sabbath.

A centurion cuts abruptly a bit disrespectfully, barges into the room where the meeting was held, demands authoritatively to speak with Nicodemus, Shumual cautions him to show some respect as Nicodemus is a senior teacher and elder.

The centurion goes further to make his request, he tells Rabbi Nicodemus that there is a certain woman in the red quarter who has been causing a disturbance says she needs a holy man, of course to deliver her.

Nicodemus tells the centurion that he is a man of God, and that it is not in their custom to frequent the red quarter.

But the centurion replied stenly that should Nicodemus fail to accompany him to the red quarter, they’ll have no option than to burn it down with fire. Nicodemus oblige’s.

Nicodemus is taken to the possessed woman.

On another side of the story, Simon is seen wrestling with Jehoshapat in a wrestling ground. He is in love with Jehoshaphats sister. Jehoshaphat says he’ll stop fighting Simon but Simons brother won’t.

Andrew is seen at the sea with Simon having a talk about how they lost the wrestling and all.

Nicodemus arrives where the woman who was possessed with legions of demons is kept, she is seen screaming so loudly that at her sight Nicodemus shakes while praying in fear.

After much intense but a little brief prayer, the possessed woman keeps calm. Nicodemus slowly walks up to her thinking she’s been set free, only for the legions in Lithh the possessed woman to speak, looking straight into Nicodemus eye saying, you have no power here. We are not afraid of you teacher. Nicodemus immediately turns around and leaves in fear.

Nicodemus is seen telling the Junior teachers that such mission isn’t meant for teachers like him, and that sometimes, teachers make the mistake of taking on such missions because of their desire to correct lost souls. He says to them that it was a mistake to set foot in the red quarter in the first place, and that he is tasked to read and explain scripture and the word of God only, not healing.

I guess Nicodemus lack of preparation, knowledge of the task, and impromptuness of the mission led him to fail. I think you don’t just jump on someone to go and conduct a deliverance for someone possessed to that magnitude. Yeah I think the lesson here is, there must be preparation, as matters of the spirit cant be done just like that.

There was also the fear factor. Nicodemus was not bold enough to face the evil spirit and this was obvious in his steps and voice.

It was also established in the story that the possessed woman Lithh was fighting with her past. She had been raped by a soldier in the past, she was struggling with the memory of her ugly past which caused her depression, and she became suicidal she is seen almost throwing herself off a cliff.

No one loved her, all they wanted was use her for a night stand.

Nicodemus, Lithh, Simon, Andrew are caught up in serious mess, then just at the end of the episode, the star of the story, Jesus shows up.,

and here comes deliverance for Lithh the possessed woman.

Enough of the spoilers, go and watch the movie if you haven’t to get the full gist

Now to the things I liked about Chosen season one episode one

1. Great locations.

2. Impeccable costumes.

3. Great make up and costumes.

4. The song at the opening and end credits were appropriate.

5. Great acting by ALL cast, when i say all cast I mean ALLLLLL not a single cast left out.

6. Great story concept.

7. Great sound design.

8. Great editing and special effects make up.

9. Awesome lighting for some scenes.

10. Great piece of art indeed.

11. Great casting.

Now to my observations ;

1. Mathew the tax collector, the enemy of the people, is seen sneaking into Carpernaum so that he is not noticed or recognized by anyone. if this is the case, why the glamour of his choice of costume then? He is seen picking and wearing one of his exquisite suits and adorning himself with expensive perfumes and sandals, an attire that will attract the people so easily.

To me, i think that should be a low key scene and trip, since it involved someone sneaking. He didn’t need all that sophisticated costume for that scene, as that will only expose him more to be easily noticed.

He could have been made to wear a normal and very simple wear just like anyone else in the market or even go under cover.

Now, Mathew arrives Capernaum in broad day light, steps down from the cart in the full glare of everyone in a busy market. And its almost like they are trying to convince me that he is not so noticed by most of the people. That didn’t really do.

2 The woman Lithh who was possessed with legions of demons, could have looked more tattered and scattered than was potrayed.

After her battle with the demons she is still seen looking well kept for someone who has just had an attack by legions of evil spirits.

Come on, we are talking about legions of demons here. Her hair should have been scattered and her cloths more stained, rumpled and even torn for that her character.

Recall the story of the mad man at gatharine? the bible records that he tore all his clothes, cut himself with stones and destroys chains. I try to picture how such a man would look, and then comparing it with Lithh the possessed woman in chosen didn’t really do.

I also feel the possessed woman would have been more avoided by the people than was shown. She was seen walking so freely among people sometimes, and yea I agree the attack comes and goes, but still yet, no one knows when the attack would come. so this factor should make her avoid the more than was depicted. naturally she should be avoided immediately she is sighted by anyone at all.

3 I felt a lot of estabs were missing in this episode. Yeah, what we call establishment shots were missing. i needed to see the beauty of Capernaum than was shown. This will help soak me in history and bring out the essence of the film a lot more. This being the first season and episode, showing the cities would help capture the audience to look forward to other episodes and being out the beauty of the story. Of what essence is a historical film without the various sites of the beauty of history.

4 The camera movements were quite faulty in some scenes. The shots weren’t smooth. The camera jerked as though hand held was used for too long and the camera man was tired and he began to shake which distorted the beauty and consistency of the shot. And yes it wasn’t a fight scene that needed that.

5. Also all interior scenes felt like night scenes. I couldn’t really distinguish between night and day from the way the interior scenes were lighted. I think the lights conflicted with the scene alot. There were many times i thought it was night and boom I later discover its actually day as I see reflection from the window.

6. The time frame between Nicodemus journey from Judea to Capernaum was too quick. Recall that he traveled very slowly by chariot from Judea to Capernaum which is several miles and kilometers apart. But he arrives Capernaum in broad day light looking all fresh and well kept as though he didn’t travel from miles away. At least tiredness and stress should have been established for an old man like Nicodemus who is probably in his late 70s traveling such distance.

7. The story was very difficult to understand. There were too many characters for one episode. We were dealing with Nicodemus, then Lithh the possessed woman, then Andrew and as if that’s not enough we still have to deal with Simon, Jehoshaphat and all. I feel some characters could have been done without or pushed to subsequent episodes. Why the rush and compression since its a series. The characters were about disjointed. This made it so hard to reconcile.

This is a great series in all you really need to see this. You can download the chosen app on play store and get to watch all episodes.

Chosen season one episode one rating : 6.5/10

Directed by Dallas Jenkins

Written by Ryan Swanson, Dallas Jenkins, Tyler Thompson,

Producers – Chad Gunderson, Justin Tolley.

Executive Producers : Derraleves, Matthew Faraci, Ryan Swason.

Dop – Akis Konstantakopoulos.

Editor – John Quinn.

Production design – James R. Cunningham.

Costume design – Pamelalee, Incardona.

Casting – Beverly Holloway.

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