The Passion Of The Christ Review

Update 02/25/04: For those of you coming in from Google, or other search engines, if you want more reviews, a lot are listed at Rotten Tomatoes.

Douglas Tennapel, famous for his works on Earthworm Jim (one of my all time favorites), The Neverhood, and more, has posted an in-depth review of the controversial, but certainly interesting film by Mel Gibson, The Passion Of The Christ. The movie isn’t finished yet, so he is providing his thoughts on a non-final release. The review contains a few spoilers, but they are pointed out beforehand, so you can skip over them. Here’s a bit from the review:

“The Christ pictures of recent can’t just tell the story. They seem to need to fix things, make Jesus not raise from the dead, make him the lover of Mary Magdalene, make him whatever. But Gibson leans on the simplicity of the original story. He’s not shackled to the scriptures, because he boldly throws in details here and there that blend with the original story. He’s respectful, but he’s not afraid. This is a movie that secular Hollywood could not make, but it’s also a movie that the Christian community could not make either.”

The page the review is on has an adult ad at the bottom depicting a woman in skimpy bikini. It stands out of place on a page where a guy is reviewing a movie based on Jesus. So if this movie turns out to be a success (and success can go two ways here), will we be flooded with religion movies by Hollywood, desperate to opt in on a new cash cow? Now that would be ironic.

28 Responses to “The Passion Of The Christ Review”

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  1. I’ve been a TenNapel fan since The Neverhood, but I came across it in a different way. My favorite music artist of all time, Terry Taylor (frontman for legendary Christian new wave band Daniel Amos), did the music for The Neverhood and I’ve followed Doug’s career since then. I’ve been meaning to pick up a copy of Creature Tech for a long time – guess there’s no time like the present.

    I was one of the people that loved _Braveheart_ despite some of the problems with its historical accuracy and the way it wore its heart on its sleeve. I’m looking forward to this film very much as a guy who loves Jesus *and* a good movie.

    Combining the two elements seems (heh) like a match made in heaven if done well enough.

  2. Anonymous

    Today at the openning hour of the Mel Gibson produced movie ” The Passion of the Christ”, I had the privalege to see this movie . It is the MOST POWERFUL thing I have ever seen! I did not see Anti-Semitism! I did not see Jews and Romans Crucify THE CHRIST. I saw me ,I saw a lost world who crucified CHRIST. We all crucified CHRIST! To know Jesus Loves me to those depths that HE was willing to suffer at the Cross is PROFOUND! The violent depiction was needed ! I could see the heart of MR.Gibsons artistry and the reason that he knew the scouraging sceens where neccessary. Every crack of the wipe and the rod I felt it in my SOUL. In my flesh I could never comprehend what MY LORD suffered Spiritually or Physically .There was tenderness to ,the times with HIS mother the flashes of memory and the language was Beautiful. There would have been something lost if it had been in english. I loved knowing I was hearing it as the SAVIOR spake it . Theres so much my words are a feeble attempt to discribe it. MR.Gibson,I thank you for the courage you have shown that you are willing to take the critism to produce the TRUTH of CHRIST’S CRUCIFICSION.The cast was excellent. I can tell this was a labor of LOVE . It MOVED me to a place of humility and brokeness and tears.The story of MERCY is a awesome gift, given freely from FATHER GOD to a lost world! I’m greatful! I’m humbled! The GOSPEL WILL GROW! Signed JCS.

  3. Anonymous

    Oh my gosh.. You HAVE to see this movie. All i have to say is that its beautiful and touching and TRUE. I dont care what the critics think. Its wonderful and almost got me to the verge of tears. I will be praying about this and I hope you guys will too.

    ~NK

  4. Anonymous

    THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
    The Passion of the Christ : Not a Hollywood Movie where you are shown a beautified panoramic story , rather you see the story as if you were a by stander struggling to understand.

    I watched “The Passion of the Christ” twice on opening day. The ” Passion of the Christ” threw me in a drastically different world. I left the theatre the first time with dried tears and a painful feeling deep within. Since I feared I didn’t grasp the depth of what is being presented , I bought another ticket and watched the movie again. And even after watching it a second time , I was left with the same indiscribable deep feeling.

    The “Passion of the Christ” is a visit to 1st century Israel , you suddenly find yourself there with Jesus and the disciples. You see events the same way they saw them , you feel the world of injustice , fear and insecurity. You realize the tension that exists within the human soul , and within the city walls of Jerusalem. The Passion of the Christ is an experience of being there as a witness to an event , which seems rather common in 1st century Israel , but that appears to have eternal consequences. It shows you the struggle of a people under the Roman occupation and the light-mindedness of the instruments of torture. The torture , cruicifixion , injustice , deceit and lies were always there in 1st century Israel , but now God put His Son in this boiling pot in order to save the World. Man acted as sinful as he always acted , but now God used man’s very harmful behaviours to bring greater benefit to all of us.

    The Passion of the Christ helped me love Pilate , Caiaphas , Herod and even the Roman guards , who all seem to think they are doing the right thing according to their presuppositions and circumstances , while they are all trapped and enslaved to a darker force bigger than themselves which even creep to the depth of their hearts.

    The Movie made me love the Jews for their confusion and suffering under the Roman occupation. It made me love Caiaphas who showed jealousy to the Holy of Holies and who tried everything to protect the temple and the Jewish Religion. It made me love Pilate who wanted to save his household from the tyranny of Politics and Ceasar. It made me love Peter for his denial to the Lord , because I would have done the same if I were in his shoes. It made me realize that humanly speaking all these people did what was dictated by their culture and the rules of the time , but it also made me realize that we all are victims no matter how much we transgressed , for our natural behaviours are the very torturing tools that victimize all of us.

    And Christ , God the Son , came in the midst of human turmoil to bear the marks of our sins ( politics , indifference , greed , hate , ignorance , ungodliness , adultery….) evidenced by His torture , but also to be a ransom for all who believe in Him , with a promise to make all things new.

    “The Passion of the Christ” was so close , so realistic , so true and so human : An embodiement of all the Jewish scriptures’ prophecies about the suffering Messiah ( Isaiah 53 – Psalms 22 ..) and Christ’s lines are all from the Tehilim ( the Psalms). I learnt that the true meaning of Jesus’ mission was to be forsaken that we may be found , to be left out that we may be received , to be alone that we may always have Him on our side , to be separated from the Father that we may be His children forever , to be scourged that we may be healed and to be crushed that we may be restored.

    I went out of this theatre with grief , pain and insecurity , that later on were transformed to peace , love and a renewed person who wants to be the best human being I can ever be and to enjoy the free gift of life in Jesus Christ the Risen Lord.

    “The Passion of the Christ” is a 100% Hebrew film about what the God of Israel did for the Hebrews and the non-Hebrews.

  5. Anonymous

    this is an amazing film

  6. Anonymous

    1) Jesus died on the cross to accept the punishment that we deserve for our sins. This is a gift. I understand this concept and I accept this gift. The movie attempts to make us feel guilty for our sins. Jesus does not want us to feel guilty. He wants us to feel forgiven.

    2) The movie is not intended to explain the full story of Christ, which makes it difficult for some non-Christians to appreciate, however if the target audience are Christians, why was it made to make us feel convicted? If you are a Christian you have already felt convicted and have accepted God’s forgiveness. Feel forgiven.

    3) The brutal physical and emotional punishment and crucifixion of Christ is something I have come to understand as much as any human being possibly can. (Eternity in hell) X (everyone ever) = a punishment we were not created with the ability to comprehend. What I attempt to understand now is the spiritual pain Christ endured. Let us not forget He descended into hell for three days, but I hope no one tries to make a movie depicting it.

    JWM

  7. Anonymous

    Mel Gibson has created a wonderful, movie in which he has created a most realistic version of the crusification of Jesus Christ. In this movie, I think that the graphic images are a plus because in the Bible it describes the Jesus was beaten so bad that his followers couldn’t recognize him. This work of art shows the near or possibly the exact pain and brutality Jesus paid for our sins, and that is a very positive thing or idea to show the audience. Overall what I think about all the reviews of popular sources saying negative things about the movie is that they just have seen to much violent movies because when a Christian sees the movie or a decent guy, he sees all the brutality and harsh beatings of Jesus as the price he paid for our sins, and the price was in fact very brutal and harsh, more than you can imagine, in where Mel Gibson tries to show that. So all you negative critics think about this.

    Responds Welcome

  8. Nicholas Crilley

    A marvelous work of artistry in portraying one man’s view (Gibson’s) of Christ’s suffering and crucifixion! Watching Gibson’s tapestry unfold before the eyes was difficult to behold; all the more poignant when the realization sunk in that this horrific event actually took place in the matchless life of the Father’s “sacrificial lamb,” a sacrifice that extends to us even today…

    As ugly and disgusting and humiliating as “capital crucifixion” was, I think it’s important to note that _many_ criminals and political “enemies” of Rome endured the same fate as the Lord Jesus in that dark era of humanity. However, _no one_ else has _ever_ experienced the “spiritual” atonement that Christ endured in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to His betrayal and crucifixion.

    The scriptures record that so great was His spiritual agony — where a large measure of the Great Atonement was actually wrought — that His very pores oozed blood; something that no other human could have possibly endured or survived. It was there in the Garden that Christ began the onerous task of taking upon Himself _all_ the sins of repentant humanity. I believe this is the one element that all but escaped Gibson’s Passion. However, in my mind, that portion of Christ’s atonement is simply too sacred and too profound to accurately portray in any profane fashion, so I’m just as glad it remains “hidden” from the audience…

    The Garden experience, followed by the stress of no sleep and the hideous scourgings, leaves no doubt that Christ was a magnificent specimen of humanity in his ability to carry the heavy cross along the long, dusty path to His death. Jesus Christ’s embodiment of “Man” is glorious beyond compare…!

    Thank you Mel Gibson!

  9. SSS

    Unbelievably well-made film!!!!

    I know God will work through the film and will influence billions of people through the ages to come.

  10. Anonymous

    I agree with all the above…I am inspired from the things each of you are saying and i am encouraged to know the body of Christ has been given a major workout because of this movie…and is now stronger and more willing to share, that which we have always known but not fully understood, with a world that desparately needs to know the truth…the truth that the greatest love they have never known occured on that glorious day that “The Passion”, vividly displays for all to see.
    I believe this could be one of the last great pushes of the gospel before His return.
    God desires for all to know Him, but though all won’t, i believe this movie will give them the opportunity and because of it, they will be held accountable…they will now know the truth and be responsible for it and will have to make the decision to accept or reject Jesus.
    Let us all be in constant prayer for the souls of the nation, that the message in this movie will pierce hearts and the kingdom of heaven will grow because of it!!!

  11. Anonymous

    This film is a “must see”. Finally, someone makes a movie based on the Bible. My daughter did not even realize the entire film was in Greek and Aramaic with sub-titles until I mentioned it afterwards.

    I have never heard the lack of sound in two places in the movie in a packed theater. Not a cough, not a baby cry, just silence. I think everybody was actually holding their breaths.

    It shows what Christ did for us. The facts speak for themselves. He was and IS the Son of God!

  12. Phy

    My daughter has seen it, too, but she’s 16. My son, 10, won’t be seeing it until he’s her age. When Roger Ebert calls it the most violent movie he’s ever seen, that kinda gets your attention.

  13. E. Shaver

    THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MEL

    If the flurry of publicity and gallons of spilled ink inspired by Mel Gibsons The Passion of the Christ prove anything, it is that viewers have tended to get out of the movie what they take in with them. Jews tend to see it as anti-Semitic, atheists as pointless, humanists as gratuitously bloody, and almost inexplicably, fundamentalist Protestants as deeply moving. That said, it is only fair that I lay my particular set of biases on the table. I am a politically moderate, tail-end baby boomer and a fairly liberal Methodist. My familys religious background is Presbyterian and Church of the Brethren, and while I am Protestant both by ancestry and inclination, there is a great deal about Catholic tradition and the Catholic Church which I admire.
    Last week, I rather reluctantly took my biases to a screening of The Movie. Had I not been there with my wife, who wanted very much to see it, I would have walked out after the first twenty minutes. I did not, and everything in the hour and three quarters that followed confirmed my initial reaction. This movie does not dramatize Christs suffering it trivializes it. For any reasonably orthodox Christian, Christs suffering and crucifixion are events of monumental spiritual importance. To see those events reduced to two hours of gratuitous, gross-out special effects was repulsive. To see them almost completely divorced from the context of Christs ministry and resurrection was perhaps even more troubling.
    Many of those who have praised Passion have stated that the movie brings to life Christs suffering, allowing the viewer to be there, and to understand more personally the way Christ suffered for them. Such an experience is intensely personal, and I can not say that the movie has not been a positive experience for those people. For several reasons, however, I do not share the sentiment.
    First, I submit that the movie does not accurately depict Christs suffering. Nowhere in the Gospels is it stated that Christ was beaten by the Jews at Gethsemane, that he was dangled from a bridge by his chains, that he was scourged in the manner or to anything like the degree shown by Mr. Gibson, or that blood spurted from his hands in a biologically improbable slow-motion stream of gore as the nails were driven in.
    Second, the movies emphasis on Christs physical suffering is misplaced. The film implies that Christs scourging and crucifixion were somehow uniquely horrible and brutal. In fact, crucifixion was a fairly common punishment for non-citizen subjects of the Roman Empire. In 71 BC, for example, at the conclusion of the Spartacan uprising, Licinius Crassus lined the Apian Way from Rome to Naples with the bodies of thousands of crucified prisoners. Other Christian martyrs suffered considerably more gruesome fates. St. Bartholomew is supposed to have been flayed alive, and St. Andrew and St. Peter were both traditionally crucified upside down or on an angled cross. In later years, the Church itself tortured and burned heretics in exercises that probably made scourging and crucifixion appear relatively humane by comparison. It would be no exaggeration to state that millions of people throughout history have died in ways that were at least as brutal and unpleasant as the death depicted in Passion.
    It seems obvious to me, therefore, that the true significance of Christs death is not the manner in which it occurred, but rather the fact that it occurred, and, in the words of the Nicene Creed, that he descended into Hell. Christs atonement for our sins was accomplished when he assumed human form, subjected himself to physical death, and was then delivered into the hands of Satan for the three days preceding his resurrection. We are not redeemed by the simple physical suffering on which Mr. Gibson so obsessively dwells, but by what occurred afterward.
    Third, especially from a reformed Protestant perspective, Passion contains a great deal of extra-Biblical material. This should be a far greater issue for those who hold themselves out as Biblical literalists than it appears to be. Mr. Gibson has made no secret of the fact that Passion follows very closely the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich, a Nineteenth Century Catholic stigmatic and mystic. I am unfamiliar with Emmerichs visions, and to be honest, am no more likely to study them than I am to go see an apparition of the Virgin Mary in a tortilla. The films emphasis, however, on the character of Mary, the fetishistic focus on the physical blood of Christ, and the obvious references to traditional Catholic iconography left no doubt in my mind that this film was what my Calvinist and Anabaptist ancestors would have denounced as popish idolatry.
    I do not share my ancestors iconoclastic horror of the Catholic church, but I am a Protestant. I am not a Biblical literalist, but I am familiar with the content of the Gospels. Despite my theologically liberal leanings, and my basically tolerant inclination toward other peoples choice of religious views, I found the overtly Catholic imagery jarring, and when wrapped in Mr. Gibsons simplistic, blood-thirsty cinematography, repulsive and offensive. This effect is the fault of Mr. Gibson, not of the Catholic iconography he exploits. The Stations of the Cross and meditation on the Passion are beautiful, time-honored expressions of faith, and any sincere Christian can find much in them of value, regardless of his or her denominational affiliation. Passion, however, focuses obsessively and sadistically on the carnally brutal aspects of those traditions, divorcing them entirely from any sense of redemption, mercy or even of purpose.
    Some might argue that the film did, in fact depict both aspects of Christs ministry and the resurrection, and indeed, there are brief scenes alluding to both. Like the Catholic iconography, however, these scenes are so brief, and so deeply immersed in cheap, horror movie special effects and gallons of fake blood that they loose any sense of meaning. Anyone unfamiliar with the Gospels would leave the theater with no useful impression of the purpose or meaning of what he had just seen.
    Mr. Gibson got $6.50 of my money and wasted two hours of my life. He will get nothing more from me. Personally, I can not imagine ever watching one of his movies again, and I have vowed that during the season of Lent, I will do everything in my power to dissuade others from wasting their time and money on this cinematic travesty. If I convince one person not to see it, the effort will be worthwhile. If I convince thousands, so much the better.

  14. Anonymous

    I was expecting a great film, After all this is directed b Mel Gibson who also directed Brave Heart.

    What I actually ended up seeing was one of the greatest films ever made.

    ***** AWESOME

  15. Anonymous

    the movie was the best movie that i have ever seen. it’s a movie that ever has to see no matter what your religion is.
    i was grossed out at some of the gore myself but it was needed… the gore had a big effect on me and my friends when we went to see it…
    the movie is very powerful and, i consider it the best movie i have ever seen…YOU MUST SEE IT!

  16. Anonymous

    I just saw the film about an hour ago. I’m not sure what to say. I find myself looking for other reviews. I do know I want to do my own in depth research of the bible and the characters in the story. It also open up doors about other religions which I would like to research. In addition, I would like to get a better understand of the time period. This would help give me a better understanding of some of the decisions that were made. I agree this movie is a must see by all (age appropriate that is). I think it will challenge your own faith and give you a better understand of the last 12 hours of Christ life. Job well done Mel.

  17. Anonymous

    I just saw the film about an hour ago. I’m not sure what to say. I find myself looking for other reviews. I do know I want to do my own in depth research of the bible and the characters in the story. It also open up doors about other religions which I would like to research. In addition, I would like to get a better understand of the time period. This would help give me a better understanding of some of the decisions that were made. I agree this movie is a must see by all (age appropriate that is). I think it will challenge your own faith and give you a better understand of the last 12 hours of Christ life. Job well done Mel.

  18. Paweł

    bardzo możliwe… nie widziałem jeszcze.a może nie zobaczę wcale…Bg wie…

  19. Rev John E Swanger

    THE PASSION, what good is it?

    I have heard all the hype and the concerns that have been expressed about the anti-Semitism, the graphic violence and even the claims that it has “too much if a Catholic SPIN”. The bottom line is this. Will it attract the non-believer or will it repulse them? Will it promote the Gospel or will it discolor it?

    1) Anti- Semites do not need a movie to back their twisted ways. Some people simply hate. And guess what? Some, but not all are Christians!!
    2) The small group of Jewish people, who cry hatred at everything, will always cry hatred no matter what. Some people find evil everywhere they look.
    3) It was the Jews that said His blood be on our heads, and the heads of our children. So get over it!
    4) It was the Christ that said Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. So you Jew hating Christians . . . Get over it!! NOW!! Forgive!! God COMMANDED YOU TO LOVE your Jewish brothers!!
    5) The truth is, Prophesy was fulfilled; Salvation was made available, so rejoice in God and LOVE EACH OTHER!!!
    6) Gibsons movie is NOT THE GOSPEL!! Dont fool yourself into believing it is!! Its only his interpretation of the Gospel.
    7) The Passion has a HUGE CATHOLIC SPIN!! SO WHAT!!
    8) The Passion was extremely violent!! Excessively Violent? Not one bit!! The Crucifixion of Jesus, The Christ, Yeshua or The Messiah was EXCESSIVLY Violent!!
    9) You can look in the OLD TESTAMENT and find Love. You can also dig to find HATE if thats your quest.
    10) You can look in the NEW TESTAMENT and find Love. You can also dig to find HATE if thats your quest.

    In closing Id like to say:
    Its better to adjust your morals and beliefs to fit within the Bible than to try to adjust the Bible to suit your Morals and Beliefs. If you Love, youll find love. If you hate, youll find hate. There will always be those that want to destroy every good work. There will also be those that want to promote every bad work. Since The Passion isnt Gospel it is flawed, so what!! Rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater, try to find the good and look for ways to promote LOVE and thereby you will be promoting Jesus. Bottom line? People are talking . . . and this is good!!

    God bless . . . . Rev. John

    It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Philippians 1:15-18

  20. GP

    I call this movie, “The Passion of the Gore”, flick, emphasizing the Passion part as Mels Passion for Violence and Blood. Was Jesus a Man or Messiah? Let the viewer decide. The whole movie is about the need to know just how graphic Mel has remade these familiar scenes that weve seen time and time again throughout Hollywood movies. English subtitles, nice foreign touch, Mel. Of course you had to keep up by reading the English subtitles even though there wasn’t a lot of dialog a fifth grader wouldnt have a problem keeping up. With very little dialog, we shouldnt expect academy awards for acting, but who knows, acting isnt always dependant on talking. What about the passion of the Christ, actor? Or Mary with her many sad expressions. Academy award? I dont think so, but who knows the way the Academy works in Hollywood.
    The flogging of Jesus by the Romans was supposedly Mel’s first highlight of the flick with the nailed to the cross scene as his best stuff saved for the last.
    Just as I thought, Mel has a passion for pain, suffering, blood, torture and now gore. He can stand tall with those great hits such as Texas Chain Saw Massacre and every horror (gorrror) flick ever done.
    Whether it starts a new following for Christianity well wait and see. I didn’t come out of the theatre wanting to go to church and join a congregation. I wouldn’t see it twice. Once is enough, unless you love that bloody mess to watch over again. A sado-masochist would see it over and over I suppose.
    I thought it was a chance for Mel to shock the masses and rake in a lot of dough. I’ve read the reviews and there are many contradictions in all of those I have read. Almost all the reviews I disagree with, as they (the reviewers themselves), (religious experts to non experts) are feeding on mixed feelings that probably each reviewer is struggling with internally to try to be objective and wrestling with an entire life of their religion(s), Jesus as a Man or Messiah and inner belief that goes back to our birth. We try to reason out the collective stories that go back a couple of thousand of years in hopes that there is some accurate truth to all that has been written about the birth of religion without the loss of accuracy through the retelling and retelling of these stories. So the controversy in this movie goes on about the accuracy that Mel tries to portray in his own belief of God.
    All in all I was surprised that Mel didn’t hire himself for the part of Jesus Christ, because lets face it, Mel loves to be tortured in movies.
    Maybe Mel figures he couldn’t get away with trying to play the part of a young man any more. I know Mel would have loved to be nailed to the cross in this movie. At least he can relish in the fact that he got to emphasize torture, gore, pain and blood, as he would call it, “ART”?
    So go ahead and jump on the bandwagon everybody. Throw your money into the ring for the sake of this gore fest. Do you really think that you enjoyed the bloody mess? Did you walk out with a real fulfillment, a greater love of God, an improved kindness for human beings? Have we achieved everlasting peace since the death of Christ? Mel, I hope you enjoy the financial security while there are people really dying out there. Take a look at the world today. Do you see religion bringing mankind together in a worldly loving place? Look at the Religious Wars in the world right now! Hey Mel, why don’t you make a gory movie about Charlie Manson too, didn’t he claim that he was also the Messiah? Move along Mel, nothing to see here!

  21. Ade Ayoola Jr.

    The movie Passion of Christ changed my life. I agree with most of the reviews i have read, and disagreed with some, especially the last one. A person that does not know God would see this movie as just another “Gibson gore movie” about something as “supposedly” sacred as the torture and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The fact of the matter is that this movie had a GREAT effect on people. As I exited the theater, i saw a couple, that looked like they belonged the religion known as Sikism, in tears. To me, if u did not feel ANYTHING then you are just as bad as those Roman guards scourging Christ. You have no heart. Ofcourse the fact that Mel was a Catholic could have have produced some biases that reflected on the movie. But those few things is not enough to discredit this movie. There is no other movie that could be like this. NO OTHER MOVIE. I am also tired of the people whining about the violent content. People with negative reviews say that Mel just put a message all about gore and nothing else. But i wonder, do those people actually remember the end of the movie?! Do they remember the earthquake and the splitting of the Temple in half which proved Jesus right?! Do they remember viewing Satan loosing the war that he was been winning since the creation of Earth?! And most importantly, did they remember how it viewed that Jesus rose again, to prove he was and IS the son of God?! I believe Mel when he says that he directed this movie with the holy spirit, and i honestly think that Mels purpose on Earth was to make this movie. It is a must see, and it will put a relatively accurate image of what Christ endured for us unworthy sinners.

  22. Don Sevilla

    I agree with many of the comments by Mr. E. Shaver and GP. The movie succeeded on a few accounts, none of which were meant to truly portray the “passion” of Christ. As expected, from someone as shallow in faith as Mr. Gibson, someone with a poor understanding of the “passion” of Christ,the movie did show the physical torture of Christ, for that is all the movie was about. It depicted the horribly brutal punishment that was inflicted on the most common of criminals in that era. And that should have been the paradox emphasized in the film: that Christ was not, in fact, given or subjected to “special” torture or punishment but that he was treated simply as any human of the time. What the film should have shown, as far as that aspect is concerned, was that other petty criminals received the same or even worse torture and punishment. That was and is the true passion of Christ: that He came into the world as a simple and lowly man and left as a simple and lowly man. The life and death of Christ on earth was not remarkable because there was anything special about it. It was remarkable because of the ordinariness and nothingness of it. Aside from the fact that there were many inaccuracies in the film, as expected from a man of shallow faith and understanding as Gibson, I believe the film would have succeeded more technically if he had developed more the experiences and personal relationships Christ had as a man with His Mother ad disciples (who, by the way, also seemed one-dimensional and had flat acting), thereby establishing Christ as the Christ or Messiah, before plunging the character into the pitiful state of being a human being. That would have shown the passion more ‘faithfully’, literally and figuratively. Now if Gibson was focusing on the ‘humanness’ of Christ (which I suspect is why he did not show particular mysteries of the faith such as Christ’s perspiration of blood in Gethsemane) then all the more he failed by choosing to focus on the gore-laden torture and crucifixion instead of on Christ’s life as a man. And that is the sad, sad lesson here. No wonder this world is going to the dogs. We, or at least Gibson and many like him, fail to see what should be the true meaning and relevance of things and, undeservingly, use the artistic license to broadcast their works to the world.

    To Gibson, just stick to Lethal Weapon. Mad Max probably had more social value than this. It’s only redeeming features are the grand costumes, props and sets (let’s not forget that foreign movie-like, award-winning technique – subtitling). Take all that away and Voila! You have a B movie Roman Holiday gorefest.

    Don Sevilla – one of the few intelligent people from the Philippines

  23. K. Saxlund

    I have just seen the movie and I have some mixed feelings about it, just like most others. I sat down in my seat at the cinema with my popcorn and coke, waiting for a great movie. 25 minutes into the film, I felt like leaving, but didn’t because I had payed to see the movie and didn’t feel like walking out on my friends. When the biggest “gore-scene” came, I stopped eating my popcorn and did not touch my coke. I felt somewhat unworthy of the snack I had brought into the cinema. I felt compassion, anger, pity, hate and frustration. Was Mr. Gibson’s intention to make us feel guilty for the death of Christ? Or was it simply to graphically illustrate how horrific the crusifiction was? This is not a movie like any other movie you usually go the see at the cinema. Snack and refreshments of any kind is not necessary for this movie. If you see this movie more than twice, you have to be mentally ill and love to see others suffer. Usually I leave the movies with a smile on my face and say something like: “hey, that was a good movie, anyone for a beer?”. This time I left saying: “That is the most violent movie I have ever seen, not even Tarantino has made such a violent movie.”

    So if you like blood and seing a man suffer, go see it. Or else, stay home and read the bible.

    (By the way, I don’t consider myself to be a Christian, but I believe in the way Christians live….)

  24. J. Sankofa

    All blood and gore. Thin plot. Sadly, it seems that most commentators, caught in the powerful emotions around Jesus’ violent death, make little mention of the fact that Gibson took a rather shallow look at the remarkable LIFE of a man who committed himself to fighting against so many forms of human oppression: poverty, hunger, sickness, prostitution, as well as political, religious and cultural oppression.

    Of course, Gibson knew that the theological tradition of today’s Christian society is not the love-thy-neighbor focus of, let’s say, Rev. Martin Luther King, but rather an individualistic (i.e. American) focus characterized by personal redemption and satisfaction–or, what some Christians like to call, a “personal walk” with Christ, as opposed to a liberating walk with the downtrodden masses. You know, the way Jesus did.

    So we hear barely any mention of Gibson’s single glaring oversight: the life of Jesus. Unsurprisingly, only one commentator above noticed that the brutal violence Jesus endured was not unlike (and possibly even less severe) than that of other punished (i.e. tortured) humans during that Roman era. That’s odd. Jesus would certainly have noticed this problem. He probably would also notice that the flogging of runaway slaves in antebellum America, or the gruesome lynchings of the South (where onlookers gathered in droves not unlike Jesus’ lynching) or the dragging of James Byrd down a Texas road until his head rolled off are all contemporary examples of later verions of old-fashioned Roman-style torture. (And by the way, speaking of race, why was Jesus–a man with bronze skin and hair like wool who grew up in the Middle East not Europe and who was brown enough to be hidden in Egypt (north Africa as a baby)–portrayed as a white guy?)

    Gibson is apparently a creative historian with a preference for fiction, omission, and gore. ..which brings me to my key concern:

    It is not the film’s violence (which is as American as apple pie and Gibson revels in this) but rather the film’s historical amnesia and the deafening silence around our society’s failure to replicate–or even portray–the the liberating life of Jesus that makes this film so noteworthy.

    Of course, films about liberating the poor, the hungry, and oppressed don’t make smash-hits at the box office.

    Blood and gore does. Gibson knows this formula well.

    JS–Washington, DC

  25. rohan

    The movie pwns j0o so quit complainin!

  26. S. Richardson

    When I first agreed to see ‘the passion of the christ’ I was obviously sceptical due to my own beliefs. I am a strong atheist, but I still managed to drag myself to the cinema seat, skipping a college lesson to sit through the most boring 3 hours of my entire life. I entered with an open mind, I left feeling, if anything, bewildered by the whole experience. Disregarding the fact that I had sat through a good 15 minutes of practically pointless and gratutitous violence, I then sat for another half an hour watching jesus carrying the cross for a bit…then losing his balance and falling over, and then picking the cross back up and walking for a bit again…queue airy fairy emotional choir music and a quick flash to Mary sobbing in tears. I was expecting a dark, shocking film (hence the 18 rating) which would make me think about my beliefs, but instead left me bewildered. ‘So why didn’t you just simply walk out’ I hear you cry? Well, I would of, but I most probably would have been lectured by the sobbing born again christians in the audience. While Mr Gibson, ‘Mel’, the ‘big cheese’, is sitting on a stupidly huge fortune because he’s managed to produce 2 and a half hours of complete boredom and 30 minutes of hideous gore. The fact that he has made a profit out of testing people’s beliefs, seems to me, quite sick. This is simply a crock. Another film to be added to the ‘re-hash’ pile that seems to be all over local cinemas like a rash. Avoid at all costs.

  27. MrCheese

    This movie wasn’t funny at all.

  28. Yami

    I saw the movie a month ago and i can’t believe how people only notice the gore… It’s true that it was rather bloody and brutal but is that all that you could see… come on.. people who are touched by the movie see not the suffering portrayed by Mr. Gibson but theidea that Christ suffered a great deal for our redemption…

    I am 16 and graduating in 6/04

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