THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004)
I decided to start the New Year off with a series of films with a religious theme. Not being particularly religious myself, I still can enjoy movies that deal with the divisive subject matter from all points of view and don’t necessarily have to agree with the perspective or politics.
My only caveat is a good story. Period.
With that said, I wanted to be sensitive with how I reviewed THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST as this became a very polarizing film upon its release. I actually bought the Blu-Ray more for the extensive documentaries than I did for the film, but I wanted to get my $2.99’s worth (thank you Black Friday deal) so I watched the movie and here are my thoughts.
This is a violent and bloody film that truly revels in the gore more so than most Italian horror films. This is not what bothered me though. What I had issue with was that the material was presented so matter of fact that I didn’t understand why I was supposed to care.
Let me explain with this analogy. I didn’t care for Spielberg’s film WAR HORSE because you are supposed to car about the horse simply because it’s a horse. I felt the same way about THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. It’s as if I’m supposed to care because “Hey, It’s Jesus.” But “Hey, it’s also supposed to be an engaging story and not just a Grand Guignol bloodbath.”
But I don’t want to be completely negative about the film. For all of Mel Gibson’s off-camera shenanigans, the man is a fine director and THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST is gorgeously shot. I also quite liked the use of the Aramaic language, which gives the film an unworldly feel.
Also, for what it’s worth, the make-up and visual effects are gut-wrenchingly realistic and deserve recognition.
My final assessment of the film is that it presents a slice of (barbaric) religious history and the viewer brings their own baggage to the viewing experience. If you want to suffer along with Jesus than this is a MUST SEE MOVIE for you. If you want to engage with history, than you might be in for quite a shock. I just kind of felt like “Well, there it is…”