Mar 032004
 
Authors: Jeremy Anderson

“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

memorable.

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

ends.

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

R

2 hours 7 minutes

Carmike and Cinemark

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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