A big, bold, nightmarishly beautiful film not just about the dawn of the Christian faith, but about the awful tendency of human communities (wherever and whenever in the world they may exist) toward self-preservation, intolerance and mob rule.
Gibson ultimately seems to be preaching to the choir, rejecting standard storytelling conventions such as introducing his characters, assuming his audience already knows everything he's about to tell us.
May have succeeded in exploiting Jesus's death for its most highly pitched emotion and drama. But in the process, for many believers, it may have served only to trivialize and further obscure the story's most central and sacred mysteries.
The Passion of the Christ is so relentlessly focused on the savagery of Jesus' final hours that this film seems to arise less from love than from wrath, and to succeed more in assaulting the spirit than in uplifting it.
Mel Gibson shows once again that he's skilled at depicting violence. But you'd be hard pressed to find evidence of 'tolerance, love and forgiveness' that the producer-director-co-writer insists he's trying to communicate.