“The Passion of the Christ”
Considering the monumental amount of controversy and press “The
Passion of the Christ” received prior to its release, I was hoping
for director Mel Gibson’s sake, and that of everyone else involved,
that all the hoopla was not wasted on a disappointingly bad movie.
Thankfully, though, this film is nothing short of astounding.
From the first frame to the last, the audience is immersed in a
visually striking, staggeringly powerful experience. Gibson
reportedly funded the film’s $25 million budget on his own, and
that relatively small budget created a memorably stunning visual
style. Many scenes exude power due to subject matter alone, but by
being so beautifully filmed, they become that much more
A lot of the talk surrounding this movie deals strictly with its
controversial and pervasively graphic violence and somehow forgets
to mention the phenomenal performances of the cast. Jim Caviezal
commands the screen as Jesus and is deserving of much appreciation
for taking on such an incredibly significant role and doing it so
convincingly. Maia Morgenstren as Mary, Monica Bellucci as Mary
Magdalene and Hristo Shopov as Pontius Pilate all give amazing
performances as well, especially Morgenstern whose eyes are so
heartbreakingly expressive they will haunt you long after the move
As magnificent a movie as “Passion” is, my one complaint is that
the film relies too heavily on the audience being well-educated
about the life of Jesus prior to entering the theater. Many of the
characters are not named until the end credits, and no prelude or
explanation is given to accompany the story of the last hours of
Jesus’s life. Though most people will likely get the gist of “The
Passion,” it almost needs a complimentary guidebook to fill people
in on the stuff the movie chooses not to touch on.
The omission of back-story and character explanation could
possibly be the filmmakers hoping less-informed audiences will
leave the movie with a newfound interest in the topic and seek
answers to their questions through research, church or the Bible.
These are good intentions, but the “Passion” is still shorter on
details than it needs to be.
As for the anti-Semitism controversy, whether or not the film
depicts Jews in an overly harsh way is up to personal
interpretation. However, if a backlash against Jewish people
results from “Passion” then those involved completely missed the
fundamental message of the movie — forgiveness.
three and a half out of four rams
2 hours 7 minutes
Carmike and Cinemark