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The Passion of the Christ (2004)

  Directed by: Mel Gibson
Written by: Benedict Fitzgerald, Mel Gibson
Starring: Monica Bellucci, James Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern
Links: The Passion of the Christ on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 5.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Exhausting" - a review by pearly

I didn't go to see The Passion of the Christ the day it came out, but I did go to the cinema that day to see something else. Not realising that The Passion of the Christ had started, I was quite confused to see all the men and women of the cloth milling about in the foyer of the cinema, until I put two and two together.

When I got around to seeing it myself a couple of weeks later, the numbers had dwindled significantly. This film, about which I had heard that entire cinemas were planning on screening just it for numerous days, had a session a couple of weeks after opening which was attended, at a reasonable hour, by myself and only six other people. The empty space was so all-encompassing that I developed a cold from the air conditioning being so cold. And this from the film that everyone was going to see, and was going to be packed to the rafters for the first month.

I am not a particularly religious person, but I did go to a Catholic school, and attended religion classes for almost my entire schooling life. While the syllabus in such subjects has gone beyond purely studying scripture, I know what goes on in that big book fairly well (though I am totally out of practice). But one thing that The Passion of the Christ does not do (as for whether this is good or bad is up to you) is to explain the story in intimate detail. It basically expects that you know the general gist of the story, and that you don't overly care who is who (some of the characters are never really mentioned by name, so I spent some time simply sitting and thinking "okay, well that must be Pilate then..." and the like).

Going in, I really didn't expect much from the violence. I'd heard that many people couldn't handle it, but I've seen a fair number of violent films in my time, and I didn't think that this would be all that different. I'm pretty de-sensitised. This wasn't how it really turned out though. I really did feel the violence, and felt myself having to turn away at times (the whipping scene is especially bad, and it just goes on and on and on). Also, I must have been carrying the tension in my body, because at the end of the film when I stood up, I was physically exhausted by it all, and felt really light-headed. This was certainly not what I expected to happen.

Beyond this though, I admit that I don't really understand the real point that Mel Gibson was trying to make in creating this film. If it was to convert people to religion, then I really doubt it would achieve that, because it doesn't encompass enough to make it of much use to anyone that is not already religious, or at the very least quite well versed on the subject. If it was to simply tell the story in a different format, then I guess it achieves its purpose, but as I said before, it is basically assumed that the viewer knows the basics of what's going on - the characters are not introduced very well, and therefore it doesn't do much to help you to talk knowledgably on the subject after just seeing the film. The only other reason I can think of for Gibson wanting to make this film is purely for his own reasons - that his faith makes the task of worthwhile value to him (or that, God forbid, he wants to make money from this venture). I guess this is entirely feasible.

So I guess that aside from religious people, I don't see what appeal this film would hold for anyone, as it is so drawn out as to make it mind-numbing for people that don't have a special interest in it. But, having said that, there are enough religious people out there to form a large enough audience to warrant this film's creation, I guess.

As for my thoughts, well, the whole thing just washed over me really. I don't have a strong opinion either way, except to say that I was exhausted by the violence. Technically though, here's some thoughts. I didn't understand who the albino-looking woman was supposed to be, and only discovered that it was meant to be a portrayal of Satan when I read the credits. Maybe I'm stupid, but I didn't think this was made clear at all. Also, James Caviezel. While his portrayal was faithful and passionate (puns intended), it bothered me that his contact lenses and fake nose were so noticeable. Particularly the contacts. I'm pretty sure Jesus didn't wear them.

pearly gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 26 Mar 2004

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Reader comments

  1. I thought this movie was pretty good i mean it was awsome according to my point of view the movie was great, i would have to say thumbs up!! Anyways it was a good movie even though to me it wasn't a movie, it was a event that really happened.
    To me as a Christian i think that made me feel innocent and not only that but repent even though i have read the bible and everything still didn't feel it until i watched the Pasion that made me changed a view of my self including personality and view as who i am now.. so i think that this movie was a message to those who don't believe in JESUS and it is a great chance or opportunity for them to know him and what hes been through to save us from sinning. so to those out there who is having dificulties with their lives it is now a time for you to turned to jesus and ask him for help because i know that he will answer. He is the reason why we are here today he is. If he didn't die on the cross and sacrifice his life for us we wouldn't be here today so thats why i would like to thank him for that.
    So i strongly advice to all who is reading this message it is time for you to make a change in your life and it is not too late, there is still time for you because god is waiting for you to make that change.. And i promise you, you di this and you will be satisfy with your life forever until the second coming of our king..

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Fiaavae Alolua on Sun 28 Mar 2004 22:17 #

  2. Absolutely breathtaking, the incredible true story of the last 12 hours of Jesus life here on earth brought to life in unbelievably graphic detail by Mel Gibson!
    This movie is 10 in my book anyday!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Benchwarmer on Sun 16 Apr 2006 22:01 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (2 ratings)

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