The Passion of the Christ (2004)



Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Smart and Impressive

Happy Easter everyone! Well, it isn’t hard to understand where the inspiration for this pick came from. For the most part, this is quite a controversial film for Christians and non-Christians alike. I have noticed that almost no one got the point which to me…seemed absolutely crystal clear. Maybe I’m the only one that doesn’t understand, but I at least say I get it, while other critics remain perplexed. For me, The Passion of the Christ remains the smartest, best-made, and most cinematographically impressive Christian movies that has ever been made.

This story follows around the life of Jesus (Jim Caviezel) in his last twelve hours of life. That entails his arrest, torture, execution, and consequently resurrection three days later. We all know the story, and have seen it in dozens of alternate variations, all different yet similar. Mel Gibson’s vision entails the brutal reality of what Jesus went through, pushing the limits of the violence maintained from his ‘R’ rating. Before I continue on, I will first give you the summary of what most critics think, thanks to Rotten Tomatoes, it says, “The graphic details of Jesus’ torture make the movie tough to sit through and obscure whatever message it is trying to convey.” It is so clear that they missed the point…the whole point WAS the graphic details of Jesus’ torture. The only thing that really obscured the message was the flashbacks.

Again, we already know the story of Jesus Christ, and Gibson realizes this fact when making the movie. He doesn’t make us out as fools. So in essence, this isn’t your typical movie that you can say, oh well this is about so and so, and the characters are trying to do this and that, because this movie is more or less an informational documentary, if you will. It is trying to get right up to the line of showing you exactly what happened to Jesus without obscuring it with the typical Christian garbage image of puppy dogs and rainbows. The Bible portrays an ugly world with sick people, and watering that down seems like the stupidest thing in the world.

At the same time, the flashbacks in the movie made no sense for the most part. We already know the story, so we understand what the flashbacks are about, but if this were to be seen as a close interpretation of his last parts of life, why do we need to see shots of seemingly random scenes, even if we know what they are about? Here’s the thing, it takes away from the torture of Jesus that seems to be unforgiving, and I can understand that it needs breaks sometimes. The problem arises when you start to realize most of these flashbacks are thrown in to appeal to a more wide audience that wants to see particular scenes shown in a movie about Jesus’ life. Just think, if there were a move about Jesus releasing soon, what would you like to be shown? Those were probably in this to appeal to more people, and that’s what I like to call Hollywood cheese. This cheese takes away a bit from what it could have been, because it got close to a perfect score.

You see, the message was trying to convey that other Christian movies convey his death and resurrection in the same light and tone, but this was trying to be true to what happened, and people didn’t like this. Why? Because of change, for one. Because Christians try their hardest to stay away from rated R flicks. Because Christians don’t like gore so much…because a lot of things this movie immediately became controversial, but it is a very well put-together film. The shots are put together beautifully for what it was, using the original Arabic language was very smart, and removing subtitles in scenes where it was mandatory to look at the action was incredibly smart as well, producing the goriest film Christian movies have ever seen was, in fact, one of the best things this movie has done. One positive and negative aspect to the movie is Jim Caviezel, more emphasis on positive.

Jim looks the part, you have to admit it, he looks just like Jesus. He acts just as you would expect Jesus to act…when he is scared, being beaten up, and tortured…in the flashback scenes he still looks the part, but you can tell…this is Jim Caviezel. We have seen him in so many other works of art before this, know him well, and there is no getting around it…this Jesus is Jim. While the rest of the cast is pretty much unknown, Jim was practically the only actually known actor. He did a fantastic job, don’t get me wrong, there are just moments in the movie where you are going to think…well that’s just Jim Caviezel.

This movie will affect one audience the most and that is emotional Christian people. I say that because those people will be able to connect the most with Jim as Jesus, creating a symbolic connection, as to whenever Jesus is struck or mistreated in anyway, those emotional Christians will immediately feel a discord with what is right, and they will feel for Jesus, like…how can you possibly do this to this man who is so far above you, that is so disrespectful to a man that I love and put before my family. In that regards, those people will love this movie 100%. However, for a lot of the rest of us…we will have trouble making that deep of a connection, whether you’re Christian or not.  However, you can respect the film for what it is, and clearly for how much hard work was put into the movie (especially the makeup, some of those cuts just look too real).

Other than that, I hope you guys have a Happy Easter, and enjoy life!


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