A dramatic parable of choice and resulting consequences. Synopsis: A man is traveling alone in his car in Southern California. The year is 1947. He stops to look at his road map. The map warns him that no one should turn off the main roads without inquiring locally. The driver notices what looks like a short-cut on the map. He turns onto it. Soon his car has overheated and he is stalled - miles away from any help. The traveler walks away from the road apparently hoping to find another short-cut, cross-country. He brings no hat, no canteen, no provisions.
Jesus (Willem Dafoe), a humble Judean carpenter beginning to see that he is the son of God, is drawn into revolutionary action against the Roman occupiers by Judas (Harvey Keitel) -- despite his protestations that love, not violence, is the path to salvation.
Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like "Stay Asleep", "No Imagination", "Submit to Authority".