Friday, March 29, 2013

978. The Passion of the Christ (2004)


Running Time: 126 minutes
Directed By: Mel Gibson
Written By: Mel Gibson, Benedict Fitzgerald
Main Cast: Jim Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern, Monica Bellucci, Rosalinda Celentano, Francesco DeVito
Click here to view the trailer

FAITH

With Good Friday falling today and Easter this Sunday, I figured there was really no better time to get to "The Passion of the Christ" - a Mel Gibson directed film and the highest grossing independent film of all-time.


I think we all know the story of Jesus by now, but for the folks who have been living under rocks, I'll do a quick synopsis. The film traces the final twelve hours of Jesus' life, beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane. There, Jesus prays to God, asking him "if at all possible, let this cup pass me by. If this cup cannot pass me by, your will be done." From there, Jesus is arrested and brought before Pontius Pilate. Pilate, not wanting to condemn him, sends him to be judged by Herod. However, not finding any crimes that Jesus has committed, Herod sends Jesus away. From there, Christ is taken back to Pilate, who, after much pressure from Caiaphas (Jewish High Priest) and the crowd, condemns Jesus. First, Christ is only scourged - beaten with whips, chains and mocked with a crown of thorns. Later, after much more pleading from the crowd and Caiaphas, Jesus is condemned to be crucified. He is forced to carry his own cross to the mountain of Golgotha, but can barely do so, having just been nearly beaten to death.

Look, I don't want this to turn into a sermon or anything and I certainly don't want to start any religious debates. Yes, I believe in God and Jesus Christ and that Jesus died for our us, but I'm also aware that many do not and I have no problem with that. In fact, if I may share, I really can't stand people ("bible bangers" some call them) who feel that it is their duty to convert non-believers. It is my belief that each man must answer for his own actions. If you don't believe, that's your business, you will have to pay the piper someday, but it is certainly not my duty to try and change your mind, just as I wouldn't appreciate non-believers trying to talk me out of my beliefs.


To the non-believers, however, I ask (as I did in my "Gospel According to St. Matthew" review) can you at least take "The Passion of the Christ" as a good story. Obviously, to you it's only a story, but I ask, is it at least a good one? Even though you're non-believers, is there any part of you that says "Well I guess this is POSSIBLE"? For example, if someone runs from outside and tells me that giant sequoia's are falling from the sky, I wouldn't believe them, but my mind (maybe for a second or two) would imagine the prospect of this actually happening. If your mind can at least flirt with the idea of this being possible, would you feel sympathy for an innocent man being treated like this? If in that same instant of flirting with the idea of this being real, would you be grateful to a man who went through all of this for you? I'm just curious.


Okay, I've certainly said enough about religion and I said I wasn't going to. Let's talk about "The Passion of the Christ" - the movie. Cinematically", I had few problems with this one. If I was forced to nitpick, I'd say that there were far too many slow motion takes and a few scenes that really should've been left on the cutting room floor. For example, (and THE BOOK even notes this one) the scene where Jesus is depicted practicing his carpentry, making a table for a rich man. It wasn't needed in the slightest. This film should have been 100% uncomfortable, sad and heart wrenching, but it was the inclusion of unnecessary scenes like that, that only made it 98% heart wrenching. Everything else I'd say was fine. The music was just perfect and the acting was fine. In other news, what on Earth happened to Jim Caviezel? He sort of fell of the face of the Earth after this movie. Actually, now that I think of it, I think he's on some TV show...but I'm not sure what and don't really care enough to go looking it up.

RATING: 8.5/10  Great stuff here and another strong candidate for the TOP 20 list. I hope all who celebrate have a Happy and safe Easter.

MOVIES WATCHED: 648
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 353

March 29, 2013  2:00am

4 comments:

  1. Hey Andrew,
    I am an atheist. Even though I don't believe that Jesus is the son of god, I still think it is a good story; I cannot believe humans could do that to one another. As for him dying for me, I really don't think I had anything to do with something that happened so long ago. Good questions; I will be interested to see what others have to say. And, as always, great review.

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    1. Hey Amanda, thanks for the comment, the compliment and your input. It is highly appreciated and well said.

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  2. Sorry, I have delayed making a comment on this one for some time trying to think what to say. I am very much aware that it is next to impossible to seperate opinions of the film from opinions of the story, and am wary of causing offence to either side.
    This film isn't in my version of THE BOOK, and it took a long time for me to bring myself to see it.
    I had very strong problems with it. Im afraid I found Gibson's relentless messaging hard going.. and, to be honest, somewhat counter-productive. I felt like I was watching a propaganda film and reacted accordingly. Perhaps this reaction was coloured by my opinion of Mel Gibson and it is possible I was looking for bigotry from him?
    As a film however, I find myself thinking that if it wasn't using the Easter story, it would be simply be a bit of tasteless goreporn. I know that at the time the Pope commented something (I probably paraphrase a little)"It is as it was"- ie it shows the brutal reality of a crucifixion and how horrible it was for any human to have to suffer that fate.
    Well, true.. but that reasoning can be used to permit ANY grusome representation of human kinds horrors.
    Do we have to see, in such close up slow detailof every murder, domestic violence, , vivisection.. you name it, let's show it?
    OK, sorry, really hope I have not disrespected anyones beliefs...
    Ray

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    Replies
    1. Well you haven't disrespected me Ray. To each his own, in any opinion, belief or what have you.

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SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #65: Les nuits de la pleine lune/Full Moon in Paris (1984)

Running Time: 100 minutes Directed By: Eric Rohmer Written By: Eric Rohmer Main Cast: Pascale Ogier, Tcheky Karyo, Fabrice Luchini,...