"Ben-Hair" Expose: Jack Huston's coif journey as the Jewish prince
Ben-Hur bombed this past weekend, and I don't think of any of us are that surprised. I didn't particularly enjoy it -- admittedly, the chariot scene is thrilling, but otherwise, shrug (my review here) -- and Vulture is guessing that it might be one of the biggest flops of the summer thanks to a $100-million budget and an opening weekend box office of $11.6 million.
By Sunday it had ended up at No. 6 at the box office, and in third place out of the new releases from Aug. 19 of War Dogs, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Ben-Hur itself. So, not great all around.
But something must be acknowledged: Jack Huston is still, years after playing the disfigured sniper Richard Harrow in Boardwalk Empire, still pretty damn good-looking! Especially with a full face, not just half of one! Perhaps he isn't well-known enough of an actor to make randos interested in his turn as Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince who eventually adopts Jesus's message of forgiveness and love, but you cannot say the man is not attractive. Even through his various haircuts during Ben-Hur, of which there are many.
You could say, perhaps, that Judah's journey from Judaism to Christianity could be traced through his coif. Let me prove it to you, as we do IMPORTANT JOURNALISM and explore Judah's personal growth through his weave. ESSENTIAL READING RIGHT HERE.
Ben-Hur begins with flowing, hippie-haired Judah, who doesn't understand why the Jews and Romans just can't get along. As a royal, wealthy figure in occupied Jerusalem, Judah has expectations from both sides: "zealots" or Jews who are fighting for their freedom from Rome want him to join their cause, while adopted brother Messala -- now a high-up Roman soldier -- wants Judah to share the names of zealots with him.
But oh shit, Judah fucks up and pisses off Messala by being tangentially involved in an assassination attempt of a Roman official! So now Judah is captured by the Romans and punished. That once-beautiful and carefree hair is now grimy and blood-clotted. Whomp whomp.
Fast-forward years later, after spending hundreds of days trapped in a Roman warship as a rowing slave, during which Judah's situation has gotten all out of control, as so happens when you are in human bondage. All Judah cares about is survival now, which we know because he says things like, "All I care about is survival now." I might be overexaggerating that. I may be pulling a Lochte. Whatever, bros!
After a battle when the captain of the ship, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont from Game of Thrones, dies and their ship is destroyed, Judah becomes free and floats along for a while until he washes up onshore and is saved by Morgan Freeman, who is called "African" more times than he is his actual character name, Ilderim.
At this point Judah takes a shower but is still kind of scraggly, because REVENGE. He is obsessed with finding Messala and killing him, and when he and Morgan Freeman decide upon a plan to chariot race Messala in the Roman circus, it's MAKEOVER TIME!
Because it's not short hair, don't care, it's short hair, WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY MOTHER AND SISTER, I'MMA KILL YOU.
Was that vibe not clear from the aggressive use of hair gel, precise stubble, and faint eyeliner in Judah's second-to-last ensemble? Because a desire for murder looks GOOD on that guy. Too bad that he ends the movie forgiving Messala, reunited with his wife, and thankful that his family's leprosy was miraculously healed by Jesus after his death. He's sexier when consumed with hatred.
Oh, my bad -- had you forgotten that Ben-Hur is basically a Christian marketing tool? Because it is. Say hello to Rodrigo Santoro as Christ!
And that's the end of our meticulous examination of Jack Huston's hairstyles as Judah Ben-Hur. You are welcome for this Ben-Hair investigation. Please don't pay money for this movie.