Moving perpendicular to history, Barabbas cannot be reconciled. Of an invisible and generally unmentionable underclass — bandit, highwayman — his movement is as property, through literal hells of sulfur mines to the gaudy excesses of Rome, surveying, as it were, a full breadth of empire, from colony to slave camp to capital. Fleischer's alienated form, his distance, unnerves where other Biblical epics cloy, dramatizing a schism imparted by Christian morality in a "barbaric" mind. His only tool for potential freedom, his physical strength, now condemned, a confrontation between impulse and a new kind of reason play out on the expressive face of Quinn. Seen through the rising arc of a mass inversion in values, it cant help resemble the end of a world; the darkness encroaching in the religious sequences, the anxious rumbling of the score, all culminate in Barabbas' crucifixion, a spiritual pledge to darkness. The body's flight from salvation, if salvation means negation.