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Old 02-26-2004, 02:14 AM   #1
velocityidp
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My Review of The Passion of The Christ

Well, I saw the movie today (opening night). I didn't read a single review of the film going into it, so I'm speaking purely from my own perspective here.

My first thought upon exiting the theatre was: this movie is an embarrassment -- a bloody, gore-laden embarrassment. The film begins with a very dark, moody scene where Jesus is taken by the Jewish authorities. The rest of the film (2 hours) is all about Christ being beaten, tortured and crucified. Please don't underestimate what I'm saying here... this is the most gory, blood-drenched, gruesome, violent film you will ever see... it's basically 2 hours of ultra-violence. You see Jesus beat up, scourged, flesh ripping off, blood spurting all over the place, bones being broken and dislocated -- all using extreme close-up shots to put it all right in your face. You'll also see a great deal of very dark, satanic-type imagery that could easily be put in a horror movie, including demonic-looking children and rotting donkey corpses.

I'm not exaggerating here at all. If anything I'm probably not telling you enough. This film is heavy on the sadistic gore, but very light on the substance of Christianity. There are only a total of 4-5 flashbacks of scenes like the Sermon on the Mount where the Christ character says something of real meaning. Each of them only lasts for about 30 seconds to a few minutes. The rest of the film is yelling, laughing, drinking, groaning, blood spurting and flesh coming off in chunks.

I'm still not 100% sure what to think about this film. It's obviously a pretty accurate portrayal of his death. About the only good thing I can say is that it is the most "authentic" portrayal of Christ in terms of costume, wardrobe, language etc. If you didn't already know, the film is spoken almost entirely in Aramaic (which sounds very much like Arabic) and some Latin. No abnormally-clean Hollywood faces here... Everything is very dirty and gritty and not Hollywoodized (there are a lot of Hollywood cliches, however). That part is a welcome change, but the problem is that the movie was ALL about Christ's torture, and really nothing about Christ Himself. He hardly says anything in the film and comes across as beeing rather one-dimensional. There were bits and pieces of Christ's teachings (the important stuff) peppered in, but it was so overshadowed by the extreme gore it didn't make much of an impact.

"Satan" also had a starring role in this film, played by an androgynous-looking, bald-headed character who had maggots crawling out if its nose and used deformed children as demons (very horrific-looking). I thought that was pretty cheesy stuff and did nothing but make the film seem more like a fantasy/horror movie than something historic and real.

THIS IS NOT A FAMILY FILM, so I would strongly suggest you keep children below the age of 17 very far away from this movie. It deserved an "NC-17" rating, not "R." The violence is extreme and sometimes pointless. For instance, you remember the convicted thief that mocked Christ as he died on the cross? As Christ is laying there dying and as the man is laughing, a fat, black crow lands on the guy's cross and pecks his eyeballs out (the crow mangles the guy's face as the camera shows multiple, close-up, ripping pecks), his eyeballs explode and blood gushes all over the place. What the heck?? That's not in the text of the Bible... and it's so pointlessly grotesque and ultra-violent it makes me sick.

"The Passion of The Christ" can be likened to a story about a prisoner that was wrongly condemned to the electric chair, and then you only see the guy writhing in pain as the voltage is cranked up... . . . . for 2 hours. It's just such irresponsible filmmaking... I'm very saddened that this film has generated so much interest. I'm saddened that this orgy of blood and violence is going to be associated with Christianity. The teachings of Christ were but an afterthought in this film, drowned in gallons of blood.

It all seems typical of Mel Gibson's other ultra-violent films. It just went way overboard in that department and overlooked the important stuff. If there was more substance to "justify" the hyper-gore, I might have been OK with the film. But there wasn't. I would not recommend this film to anyone, especially non-Christians. I just fear that a lot of Christians will adopt this film simply because "it's about Jesus," and for no other reason.

At times it is a very moving film... to be quite honest I wept during one particularly wrenching scene. But you have to wade through so much other questionable stuff, I was left feeling spiritually empty and very uneasy once the film was finished. I was really dissapointed.

Anyway, that's just my view...

-Nicholas
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Old 02-26-2004, 09:36 AM   #2
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Wow Nicholas - that is good to know - The movie is supposed to be about the passion of Christ not the life of Christ so I knew it was to focus on the process leading to his crucifixion - but I am worried about the gore. PLEASE PLEASE don't tell me how the ending is portrayed but were you empowered by it like Stapp said he was?
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Old 02-26-2004, 10:20 AM   #3
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someone in one of my classes was saying that the movie is one of them movies where it talks in a different language and it has the text lines thingy on the bottom so you can read it (in english !!)...
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So break yourself against my stones
And spit your pity in my soul
You never needed any help
You sold me out to save yourself
And I won't listen to your shame
You ran away - you're all the same
Angels lie to keep control...
My love was punished long ago
If you still care, don't ever let me know
If you still care, don't ever let me know...

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Old 02-26-2004, 12:34 PM   #4
velocityidp
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Quote: (Originally Posted by Julbright) Wow Nicholas - that is good to know - The movie is supposed to be about the passion of Christ not the life of Christ so I knew it was to focus on the process leading to his crucifixion - but I am worried about the gore. PLEASE PLEASE don't tell me how the ending is portrayed but were you empowered by it like Stapp said he was?

No, I did not feel "empowered." I felt used... And yes the film is subtitled and spoken in Aramaic and some "street Latin." (I really liked that aspect) Here's another email I sent to my family:

The film will definitely give you an idea of what He went through. However, my problem is that there was just so much extra "weird stuff," questionable symbolism and lack of substance I think the director used some rather bad judgment. Like I said, those were just my first impressions. I think that (pointless) crow scene is one that really makes me question the film and really crystallized my thoughts... It made me think the director gets off on depicting graphic violence just for the sake of it (much like some of his other films).

It's kind of like looking at the act of rape... we all know it's a horrible thing and most of us can't comprehend it. If perhaps a film comes along showing a "responsible," extended scene of rape in order to help us fully understand the brutality of it, it might be a good thing as long as the rest of the film teaches us something good. But if the film tries do the same thing by showing a rape scene for 2 hours constantly, complete with extreme close-ups and everything... that's just perverse.

I'm contemplating seeing it again when mom, dad (and possibly Lara) go. I know this is really one of those movies you should only see once (if at all), but I might want to see if my opinion changes. Maybe I don't...

And yes the main actor was struck by lightning during filming. Very interesting to say the least. Yes you may copy the "review" to anyone you like, Grandma.

Anyway, you all might walk away with entirely different views of this film. I'm not so worried about Christians seeing the film because I know that they know what's really going on. But I fear nonChristians aren't going to get the message because of all the "weird" extra stuff that goes on in the film.

Anyway, do let me know what you all think, too.

NFS
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I can't find the ryhme in all my reason
Lost sense of time and all seasons
Feel I've been beaten down
By the words of men who have no ground

Can't sleep beneath the trees of wisdom
When your axe has cut the roots that feed them
Forked tongues in bitter mouths
Can drive a man to bleed from inside out

- "What If", Creed
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Old 02-26-2004, 02:40 PM   #5
bgivens33
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Good review

I think that showing the crucifiction in it's entirety is the point of the film. The "passion" of Christ. What he had to go through... ect. I think alot of times we tend to romanticize what went on and make it out to be a glorious occation.(which it is).. but this film shows exactly was involved in the process. I haven't had a chance to see it yet, but I've heard from people basically what you said.
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Old 02-26-2004, 03:08 PM   #6
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yea...I wanna see it as well...
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So break yourself against my stones
And spit your pity in my soul
You never needed any help
You sold me out to save yourself
And I won't listen to your shame
You ran away - you're all the same
Angels lie to keep control...
My love was punished long ago
If you still care, don't ever let me know
If you still care, don't ever let me know...

"Snuff" - Slipknot
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Old 02-26-2004, 09:56 PM   #7
Greenworld
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Jesus did all that for our souls on his own accord. Most people hear about how jesus was beaten and crucified and say, wow that's terrible, what a great ordeal to go through, and leave it at that.when you read into the process of scourging and crucifing is you say "holy crap, that's terrible to go through all that pain!" sadly, not all of americans care to find that stuff out. When put out in an image, facts make a bigger impact. I know it's gory but that's what happened. if it was like all the other jesus movies no one would care. Not to mention the incredible acting. And the symbolism makes sense, it makes you think a lot, not just there for randomness and weirdness. I know satan scenes were weird, but they fit the part when you look into it. This isnt just a movie about jesus getting beaten to death, it's about what he went through to save humanity. Mel Gibson is a catholic, he doesnt make a movie on the center of the his faith 'cause he's sadistic, he made it because people need to know what really happened, and why it was done. For love.
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Old 02-26-2004, 10:32 PM   #8
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Quote: I know it's gory but that's what happened.

I haven't seen the movie, but much of what I was taught as a Catholic was sanitized. Jesus lived in barbaric, brutal times. I don't know if you have to spend 2 hours on the gore, but since it's about his final hours, I guess you really can't avoid it. That being said, I really don't think I could stomach that much gore. I'm not into movies with a lot of blood and guts and violence. We have enough of it in the real world.
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Old 02-26-2004, 10:47 PM   #9
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velocityidp, thank you for your detailed review. I will not be able to see this movie. I am personally made ill by extreme violence. It hurts my spirit.

When Braveheart was first out, I was out of town by myself. Somehow thinking that this movie was a love story, I decided to spend the afternoon at the theater. I had to leave the theater mid movie, the violence was more than I could, or would take. I believe this movie, the depiction of the death of Christ to be even more brutally graphic.

The life and death of Jesus was something that changed the lives of many in our world. I myself prefer to dwell on the positive and caring events in his life, but I am sure those things would not make box office profits, in a world where violence and gore bring in the crowds, and the big money.
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Old 02-27-2004, 01:16 AM   #10
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Quote: (Originally Posted by bgivens33) Good review

I think that showing the crucifiction in it's entirety is the point of the film. The "passion" of Christ. What he had to go through... ect. I think alot of times we tend to romanticize what went on and make it out to be a glorious occation.(which it is).. but this film shows exactly was involved in the process. I haven't had a chance to see it yet, but I've heard from people basically what you said.
I Agree
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Old 02-27-2004, 04:05 PM   #11
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Yes it was violent, but is that not what happened to him? I am glad it was not some cheesy portrayal of what happened. It put a lot of things into perspective for me, it made me realize the great love he had for us all. It is not a family fim, but that is why ID is required before you can go in if you are underage. Mel Gibson made it VERY clear this is what it was about, no lies there. It is about the last 12 hours of his life, not on his teachings. That is why it is titled the "Passion of Christ" it was passion, the passion he had for us, and the great love and sacrifice he made. It made me cry, it made me want to hide my eyes, but I could not take my face off the screen. It was real, it was brutal, it should not be underestimated by anyone.
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Old 02-27-2004, 04:29 PM   #12
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I haven't seen it yet but I do think that if it was nicey nicey it wouldn't have been authentic and that would be worse than it being violent. I want it to be realistic. I am concerned about extra added violence like theives eyes getting pecked out but as far as what Christ's journey was like I expect that to be gruelling.
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I am so StappHappy!
The comfort of your arms around me
Your tender hands upon my head
I laid beside you I'm not worthy
This jaded man's not who I am
I touched the flame and I've been burned
All I need's a second chance
Give me eyes of a child
And teach this man to relearn love
RELEARN LOVE _ SCOTT STAPP


When shadows paint the scenes where spotlights used to fall...I will be there for you Scottie
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Old 02-28-2004, 02:19 AM   #13
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Quote: (Originally Posted by JenRN) Yes it was violent, but is that not what happened to him? I am glad it was not some cheesy portrayal of what happened. It put a lot of things into perspective for me, it made me realize the great love he had for us all. It is not a family fim, but that is why ID is required before you can go in if you are underage. Mel Gibson made it VERY clear this is what it was about, no lies there. It is about the last 12 hours of his life, not on his teachings. That is why it is titled the "Passion of Christ" it was passion, the passion he had for us, and the great love and sacrifice he made. It made me cry, it made me want to hide my eyes, but I could not take my face off the screen. It was real, it was brutal, it should not be underestimated by anyone.
It was in your face hit you right between eyes movie that will do more for the church than anyone has done in a long time. I believe with all my heart this wasn't about how money he could make, but this was a gift from God to Mel Gibson. This movie will bring more people to God and church, more backsliders back to church, and the curious on lookers in to the theaters to see what all the fuss is about, and by the end you will feel emotionally drained. After the movie was over nobody wanted to get up , most people including myself sat their and wept in silence. I needed to tonight badly. Go see the film...
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Old 02-28-2004, 04:30 AM   #14
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im probly gona see it this week. i wonder how itll be
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Old 02-28-2004, 11:21 AM   #15
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Quote: (Originally Posted by Mr.CreedFreakTN) It was in your face hit you right between eyes movie that will do more for the church than anyone has done in a long time. I believe with all my heart this wasn't about how money he could make, but this was a gift from God to Mel Gibson. This movie will bring more people to God and church, more backsliders back to church, and the curious on lookers in to the theaters to see what all the fuss is about, and by the end you will feel emotionally drained. After the movie was over nobody wanted to get up , most people including myself sat their and wept in silence. I needed to tonight badly. Go see the film...
You took the words right out of my mouth!
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