The film The Message: the Story of Islam is very different from a traditional Hollywood biopic. Most biographical films are about a specific person and contain an actor portraying that person. This film however is very different from this. The main figure of the story is the Prophet Mohammad. Instead of having someone portray Mohammad, acting and speaking as him, there is only mention of him. What is interesting about this film is that in many scenes the viewer sees from the prospective of the Prophet Mohammad. People talk to him by looking directly into the camera as if looking into his eyes or you see a group of people surrounding an invisible person as if they were surrounding Mohammad. We also never hear the voice of Mohammad. The other people in the film speak of the words Mohammad has said, usually in a scene where they are telling someone else of the words he has said. We also never see scenes when someone is talking to Mohammad directly.
The reason why an actor does not play Mohammad in the film is because in Islam it is forbidden to imitate or depict any religious figures. It is considered very disrespectful and sacrilegious to create images of God and the Prophet Mohammad, Islam’s most important religious figures. The Arabian tribes of Mecca were polytheists who believed in multiple gods and worshipped different idols. The Muslims worship only one god, Allah, and were very against the worship of false idols and multiple gods. This is most likely why they do not believe in representing religious figures; it could potentially lead to idol worship. This is very similar to the differences between the Christian sects of Catholicism and Protestantism.
I also think that it is different than a usual Hollywood biopic because it is about a start of a religion, a topic that is not done often and very difficult to depict correctly. Most other religious films do include an actor portraying an important religious figure, such as Jesus Christ, but this is because there is no taboo on religious figural depictions. I wonder if non-Muslim people did this film, would there be a depiction of Mohammad?
I think this film was very informative and interesting. After reading the book about Islam I understood more of what was going on but at the same time I also followed along and understood better by being able to watch scenes of what was happening. I think it is unique that this film is unique because the main character, Mohammad is never shown. It makes this film stand out from other Hollywood biopics.