In The Message, the protagonist is never shown throughout the film making it different from many other Hollywood biopics. The entire plot revolves around Muhammad, however he is never seen by the viewer. This is done in order to respect the Islamic belief that holy figures should not be recreated in films, media or artwork. While Muhammad doesn’t make an appearance in The Message there are parts in the film where the viewers see things from his perspective. One particular scene that puts the viewer in Muhammad’s point of view is when Muhammad is chased by the kids throwing stones at him.
Most Hollywood biopics typically give insight into the lives of famous celebrities, athletes, actors, etc. However, The Message takes a bit of a different route; this film reveals the biography of a religious figure. It reveals the origins of Islam, as well as what the Islamic faith stands for. The Message is probably one of few Hollywood biopics in which the protagonist is Muslim.
The Message takes place in a much earlier time period compared to most other Hollywood biopics. The film takes place around the year 610. The architecture consisted of natural resources such as mud-brick and stone. There was also a prevalent societal hierarchy system during this time period as revealed by the film. Blacks tended to be at the bottom of the social pyramid, serving as slaves to some of the citizens. Women were also treated unequally; the film reveals how they were living in a male dominated society. A large number of female babies were even killed right after they were born to keep the number of women in check.
The setting of the Message is different from many other Hollywood biopics as well. It takes place in and around both Mecca and Medina. The Message is filmed in the desert, so there is a lot of imagery with sand dunes and arid landscapes.
Compared to many other Hollywood biopics, I feel as though The Message is a bit less dramatized when it came to the imagery, plot and characters, with the exception of the battle scenes and perhaps a couple of characters. I believe the extravagance typically seen in the audio and visuals of many Hollywood biopics tended to be a bit lacking in The Message. Overall, I enjoyed the film, however a little more drama or extravagance may have benefitted the film at certain points, in my opinion. I felt as though the film became a little tedious and could have used a change of pace occasionally.