The Passion of the Christ Reviews
"I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it."
I am a huge believer in Christ, but this film was pretentious and very hard to sit through. Rather than focusing on Jesus' message in life, Mel Gibson thought it would be better to focus on an insanely exaggerated look at the condemnation and death of our lord and savior. As a result, the movie is nothing but 2 hours of Jesus being brutally whipped, mocked and crucified.
I wouldn't even recommend this to my own worst enemies.
Gibson had the elements to give us an excellent movie of the passion of Jesus but gave us a gore show that does not make us think about the sacrifice of Jesus, but to have pity for Jesus.
The ratings are in from the group-think squad of "professional" movie critics - such poor ratings is a travesty that indicates either how left-leaning the industry is, or how sheepishly unwilling to be independent they are. Or both.
This is as honest and brutal a portrayal of Jesus' final day as described by the 4 gospels as one can see. Made on only a $30M budget, it has become the biggest box office draw for a non-English film of all time. Although there are some artistic liberties, such as those involving the devil and demons, most of the script is loyal to the source material.
Surprisingly, the film abruptly ends with a very short scene of the Resurrection. Only short scenes are interjected as flashbacks, with the whole of the film focused on Jesus' suffering during the Passion.
I can understand how some may criticise that this film is anti-Semitic, however, it is loyal to the New Testament and the fact that Jesus was a threat to the Pharisees and Jewish high priests who condemned Him to death. Although the Romans carried out the dirty work, their aim was to quell uprising and maintain order in a province of Rome.
This is a difficult film to watch, and somewhat long at 127 minutes, but important for all Christians to watch especially at Easter time.
Therein lies the problem. The overwhelming majority of dislike - or more often hatred - of the Passion comes from reviewers who admittedly are not Christians and who find overt expressions of faith to be distasteful. They don't get why Christians believe what they believe, and they clearly don't share Christian viewpoints. So is it possible for non-Christians to objectively review overtly Christian films? I believe it is, but it requires a level of empathy and objectivity that a surprising number of professional journalists struggle to exercise.
In the case of The Passion of the Christ, what Mr. Rosenbaum does not grasp is that for a Christian, the actual passion of Jesus Christ, while being horrific in its nature, is a beautiful thing because it provides the Christian with their salvation. Without Jesus going through the barbaric Roman torture, there would be no foundation for the Christian faith.
So is Mr. Rosenbaum's argument with the movie or with the faith? Or is it with both? The Passion of the Christ, frankly, doesn't go as far in its depiction of the Roman act of crucifixion as it could have gone. For example, the scourging of Christ very likely left much less flesh on his body than the movie showed. And if the actual crucifixion had been accurately shown, Jesus would have been fully naked instead of being left with a meager loincloth. The unadulterated crucifixion would have resulted in an NC-17 rating instead of the movie's eventual R rating.
Whether Mel Gibson is an antisemite or not, those views are not transmitted through this film, as others have opined. The historical record shows that Jews conspired to kill Jesus and that Romans carried out the execution. No one really came off well in the whole affair - not the Jewish religious leaders, not the Roman prefect, not the soldiers who abused him on the way to the cross, not the crowd and not his own disciples. The only hero in the film and in real life is Jesus himself, who in the film - and almost assuredly in real life - was barely recognizable by the time of his death.
Mr. Gibson, in his depiction of one of the worst moments in history, hoped to make a statement of his faith that he hoped others would be able to share. In my opinion, he was enormously successful. Every aspect of The Passion of the Christ is finely crafted, from the performances by its largely unknown cast to the amazing score by John Debney, the picturesque cinematography and the all-too-real makeup (all three of which were nominated for Academy Awards). The result is Gibson's finest work to date, with the possible exception of the recent Hacksaw Ridge (another movie that is both incredibly violent and yet incredibly brimming with faith).
The Passion of the Christ is not an easy film to watch, and for moviegoers wanting some light religious fare to enjoy during Holy Week, perhaps they should choose a less offensive film like The Greatest Story Ever Told. However, for those hoping to get the truest depiction of what Jesus endured on that first Good Friday, there is no finer film available.