Last Days in the Desert
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRodrigo García
Written byRodrigo García
Produced by
CinematographyEmmanuel Lubezki
Edited byMatt Maddox
Music by
  • Danny Bensi
  • Saunder Jurriaans
Distributed byBroad Green Pictures
Release dates
  • January 25, 2015 (2015-01-25) (Sundance)
  • May 13, 2016 (2016-05-13) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States

Last Days in the Desert is a 2015 American drama film directed and written by Rodrigo García. The film stars Ewan McGregor, Tye Sheridan, Ciarán Hinds and Ayelet Zurer.

Last Days in the Desert premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2015 and was released in the United States on May 13, 2016.[3]


While wandering in the desert, Jesus finds himself unable to speak with God while he frequently encounters Satan, who adopts his appearance. He encounters an old woman to whom he gives water, before noticing she has a snake tail, and she laughs at him.

Jesus meets a boy who invents riddles for Jesus to solve. He lives in a tent with his dying mother and father, who he is helping build a house for them to live in. The mother is unable to eat and the father offer her food to Jesus but he declines, saying he is fasting. Jesus continues on his way but returns to help them build the house and stays in the tent with them. Satan poses as the mother, wanting Jesus to believe that the boy is product of an infidelity. Satan reveals to Jesus that he can see the future, and that the world is one more iteration of history, with only small changes made by God. Satan reveals that whenever Jesus intervenes, he cannot predict the outcome. Jesus asks Satan what it is like to be in God's presence, and Satan explains an abstract feeling, while saying God has no face.

The father discovers a valuable red rock in a cliff and plans to extract it by lowering the boy down into the chasm it is situated, but the boy refuses to do so. Enraged, the father descends into the chasm himself. Jesus and the boy hold the rope the father lowers himself with but it breaks, the father tells them to let go and he falls into the chasm. Jesus and the boy go to look for him, but when they find him he dies from his injuries.

Jesus returns with the body so the mother can see her husband one last time. Jesus and the boy find the body burned and the boy takes some of his father's ashes. His mother tells him to leave her rather than see her die. Jesus demands that Satan show him the boy's destiny, which he sees in a bowl of water, and smiles. Jesus offers to heal the mother, but she declines. Jesus leaves for Jerusalem, on the way Satan tells him that he is tired of walking, and that he will be there to offer help in Jesus' final moments. He tells Jesus to say hello to God when he sees Him.



On February 1, 2014, the cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki told Deadline Hollywood that he was going to work on a film in the desert with his friend Rodrigo García and Ewan McGregor. He said "It's a tiny little beautiful, extraordinary script that Rodrigo wrote that we’re going to shoot for five weeks."[4] On February 5, 2014 two actors, Ewan McGregor and Tye Sheridan, joined the film cast. McGregor plays the dual roles of a holy man and a demon.[5] The film is written and directed by Rodrigo García, while Division Films and Mockingbird Pictures produced the film.[5] Ayelet Zurer and Ciarán Hinds play the roles of Sheridan's character's parents.[6] The film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.[7] The movie was shot at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in the Colorado Desert of Southern California.

The film was awarded the Dolby Family fellowship, a grant that allows filmmakers to finish their sound design and mix in Dolby Atmos.[8] Sound Designers and Re-recording mixers J.M. Davey and Zach Seivers completed the original sound design and mix as well as the Dolby Atmos remix. Skip Lievsay, who won the Academy Award for Best Sound for his work on Gravity, served as a mentor to Davey and Seivers for the Atmos remix.[9]


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2015)

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 77% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 70 reviews, with an average rating of 6.69/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Last Days in the Desert offers enough stately grandeur and spiritual exploration to offset an occasionally ambiguous narrative."[10] On Metacritic, the film achieved an average score of 67 out of 100 based on 20 reviews, signifying "generally favorable reviews".[11]


  1. ^ "Last Days in the Desert". Cinefex. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Sundance Institute". Sundance. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  3. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 20, 2015). "Broad Green Sets 2016 Dates For 'Infiltrator', 'Last Days In The Desert' & 'Dark Horse'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Yamato, Jen (1 February 2014). "'Gravity's Emmanuel Lubezki Wins Feature Film Honor". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (5 February 2014). "Ewan McGregor, Tye Sheridan Set to Star in 'Last Days in the Desert'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Ewan McGregor, Tye Sheridan on 'Last Days in the Desert'". Variety. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  7. ^ Labrecque, Jeff (9 December 2014). "See Ewan McGregor as Jesus in Sundance exclusive". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Second Dolby Family Sound Fellowship goes to "Last Days in the Desert"". Dolby. January 20, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  9. ^ Walden, Jennifer (2016). "Capturing, creating sounds for 'Last Days in the Desert'". postPerspective. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  10. ^ "Last Days In The Desert (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  11. ^ "Last Days in the Desert Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 7, 2015.