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The Passion of the Christ
DVD disk
Oct 7, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
The Passion of the Christ order
Director:
Mel Gibson

Actors:
Jim Caviezel
Maia Morgenstern
Monica Bellucci

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Inspired by the Gospel and by the writings of Christian mystic Catherine Anne Emmerich, Mel Gibson pieces together his vision of the last twelve hours of Christ, from His capture to His Sacrifice. Jim Caviezel portrays Jesus.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
One of the most bandied about subjects in Christianity is the suffering of Christ. Too rarely though do we stop and think about just how deep that suffering was and about what exactly is meant when Christ is referred to as The Lamb of God, sacrificed for the sins of the world. Mel Gibson's awe-inspiring retelling of the Passion is as effective, if not more, than any sermon in conveying the pain He underwent during the final moments of His human incarnation. Drawing inspiration from the four Gospels, Gibson puts together a marvelous, yet extremely stark, vision of the last hours of Christ following his betrayal by Judas. From the opening scene where we see a humbled and tearful Christ begging His Father for mercy yet accepting the cup that is His to drink, Gibson drives home the important point of Jesus as a man, subjected to the same fears and temptations as us all, yet inspired by faith and by the Holy Spirit to overcome them and to take His Seat at the Right of God. This continued as we endured the sight of Jesus being beaten, scourged and crucified and in the pain of those surrounding him, among which His Mother Mary (Morgenstern), Mary Magdalene (Bellucci) and the Apostles.

Scripted entirely in Aramaic and Latin, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST is interpreted by a set of fantastic actors who convey all the pain and hope of the story. Starting with Caviezel who does a wonderful job of capturing both the human and Godly sides of Christ. We'll never know whether Jesus was as tall as Caviezel, or had the same eyes, the same hair or the same body, but that doesn't matter. What we do know from the Gospel is the Spirit He had and whether we see it in Caviezel only because we want to or because we expect to, he has to be commended for putting forth a remarkable portrayal of the Messiah and probably the best one since Robert Powell in JESUS OF NAZARETH. The other standout in Maia Morgenstern as the Virgin Mary, Jewish by birth, Morgenstern was able to freeze in our minds the horrified look of any mother as she would be while watching her son get brutally tortured and murdered. One specific scene (albeit one never mentioned in the Gospel) was particularly effective in portraying the close bond between Mary and her Son. The passage in which she briefly sees Him as he walks down the walls of Jerusalem carrying His cross is as painful as it is revealing of Gibson's understanding of just how touching Christ's passage on earth was and of just how much His resurrection on the third day would affect humanity.

Visually, the film is breathtaking. As brutal as its images are, their impact is never lessened by excess. This movie deals with the slaughter of an innocent Man therefore expecting anything other than that would be foolish, but although some scenes do get a bit hard to watch, they only serve to emphasize Gibson's point that if watching them is difficult, living them willingly to atone for humanity's sins is even more. There's also some terrific imagery showing Satan trying to tempt Jesus and those around him during moments of weakness. I remember being a bit torn by these images at first and not being quite sure if I believed they fit into the film or not. After taking some time away and seeing it once more though, they were more than effective in displaying how hard it can be to resist giving everything up to temptation. Overall, a truly majestic effort by Gibson not only in putting Christ's suffering back at the forefront of discussion but also in remaining true to the Gospel. This is a film that absolutely has to be seen by anyone seeking to comprehend why Jesus changed the world as he did. With all due respect to Mel Gibson and all involved though, and if I may permit myself a small observation, the Book, as usual, is still better than the movie...
THE EXTRAS
There are no features on this edition.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This film is sure to strike into the heart of every devout Christian with all its might and to stoke the fires of their Faith. For others, it will definitely provide more understanding into what makes Christ the single most historical figure in history. Wonderfully told by Mel Gibson and his cast, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST is a horrifying, yet amazing, visual retelling of events that are central to the way countless people throughout the past two millennia have viewed the Sacrifice of the Son of Man. An absolute must-see if ever a movie has been worth that description.
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