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This movie strikes me as one of the most successful attempts ever at coming up with plausible answers for some of the nagging questions that have cropped up in recent scholarship concerning the "Passion" (suffering and death of Christ) accounts in the New Testament. (What motivated Judas if money was not the issue? What could bring the Sanhedrin to meet on a high holy day? Why did Pilate waffle?) It is a movie for the serious, thinking Christian: fans of "The Passion of the Christ" will no doubt be disappointed by the lack of gory spectacle and arch characterization. As for myself, I find the portrait painted here--of the willingness of ordinary people to so blithely sacrifice common decency when their own self-interest is at stake--far more realistic and deeply unsettling. (The disinterested, "just doing my job" look on the face of the man who drives the first nail in Christ's wrist is as chilling as any moment in film.) The film makes no claim to "authenticity", but the settings and costuming invariably feel more "right" than many more highly acclaimed efforts. It is a slow film but, if you accept its self-imposed limits (it is, after all, "The Death"--not the Life--"of Christ"), ultimately a very rewarding one.
I enjoyed the interweaving of the story from the scriptures and the untold
story that went on around and behind the history that we have recorded. I
found it creative and certainly possible. Since the overwhelming interest
the recent Mel Gibson Movie, 'The Passion of the Christ' has stirred up
interest in the biblical story; it is interesting to see what some
filmed points of view have been. This movie brings up some possible
conversations, manipulations and intrigues that went on among various
characters present at the time of Christ. I found many of their insights
both intuitive and highly probable. The writers leave the end up to the
watcher as to what you believe, but the interesting perspective on what
going on 'off camera' so to speak gave me lots to think about. Watch it to
widen your perspective about some of the unwritten possibilities - I found
it very interesting.
This movie is one of the most provocative Jesus movies I have ever seen. It does not seek to tell the whole story, but only to portray an interpretive expression of the last day of Jesus Christ. It is darkly witty, playful and seriously faithful to elements of the Jewish tradition and to modern scriptural interpretation. Judas is much more ordinary than other portrayals, not the dark and sinister evil that we sometimes imagine, but a grossly mistaken man, horribly misguided in his zeal. Chris Saranden's Jesus is playful and serious, faithful and committed--very human while also divine. The final dialog is thoughtfully done and serves as the kind of small talk that two powerful men might do when they have just committed an atrocity. I would watch this movie again and recommend it to others.
Perspective from an 8-year old kid: This wasn't a Jesus portrayal I
expected. In Catholic school, we're taught about a photogenic, almost
hippie- resembling Jesus. (Jeffrey Hunter) or an almost tragically-
beautiful Jesus (Robert Powell.) Even a strange-looking Max Von Sydow
was acceptable. The reality of Chris Sarandon as Jesus made the
suffering in the film all the more real to an 8-year old. This Jesus
had fun, played around, joked, had friends, and didn't have the divine
strength to ensure the suffering--he was truly about terrified about
the ordeal he was about to undergo. My own suffering is watching a
whipping (book of Luke) to an actual shooting (book of Matthew.) This
deserves some explaining.
I try and face my fears, whether it be watching zombie movies, or Jesus-scourging scenes, to the point of studying details in the hopes of lessening the impact of those scenes. To no avail. (I still haven't watched the Passion.)
In Luke, Jesus gets whipped. By Israelites.40 minus one, law of Moses (Jesus Christ Superstar.) He doesn't even get whipped in John, which became my favorite gospel.
But in Matthew, he gets scourged by Romans, which was more horrific. Basically what Mel Gibson depicted. The Day Christ Died was definitely traumatizing to watch. Until then, Jesus seemed almost stoic and dignified in his suffering.
From the perspective of an adult: I cannot even WATCH any scourging/whipping Jesus scenes anymore. I fast-forward or skip them altogether, and I will NEVER ward by the Passion past the first 10 minutes. So I researched the details about scourging, from the flagellum construction, to ancient texts on the matter. For those of you criticizing how the film wasn't like the angelic, surreal Jesus of your dreams, read the actual book, which is based- off Matthew if I remember correctly. It is sobering to actually empathize, rather than sympathize with Jesus'suffering, which is what most Jesus flicks want you to do. I hope by writing this, I give someone else with the same fear I have, the strength to face it.
P.S. I just realized this Easter is the 33rd year since I saw it for the first and only time. Happy Easter today!
This is the first movie ever to portray the events so accurately of his
arrest, and crucifixion. I want to buy this movie but cannot find it
anywhere. Why, I wonder. I have heard that it has been banned with the
reason as being blasphemous, but it is too accurate to be blasphemous.
I have read the scriptures leading up to his death and resurrection,
and it truly is as accurate as reading it, it seems to jump off the
pages and into one's face. I have seen every movie available on this
subject and every one has too much fiction, except for this one. I have
not seen it on television since 1980. That was the ONLY time I have
ever seen it....will someone give me a clue as to where I might
purchase this movie?
I have checked out all the places where one might find it, to no avail.
This movie has problems in its presentation, may even be offensive to people who are looking for temporal and cultural faithfulness, but it challenges the watcher to reflect on a variety of issues. One of these is the nature and character of the relationship between Jesus and Judas. Another is that of the historical nature of the Bible and faith. And third, is the humanity of Jesus. The tension of the Christ-betrayer relationship is developed and held through the movie. Judas' passion is presented as a darker parallel to that of Christ. When Judas takes his own life, the viewer can sense the angst. Peter's denial and guilt, however moving, are not as powerfully portrayed as the Judas drama. Chris Sarandon offers a novel and provocative Christ, whether believable or not. I would like to find this movie on DVD or even VHS, to use in study or discussion groups.
After seeing this movie once,I really respected Jesus Christ much more than I used to. Even though others may compare this movie a failed attempt with other biblical movies, I enjoyed Sarandon's portrayal of Christ.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm giving this 5 for the two main women in this movie- Mary and Claudia. Neither of them were as bad as in The Passion with Mel Gibson. And I may be biased since I love Mary (Eleanor Bron)'s work. However, what when on in Chris' mind while shooting this????? Does he not realize what big of a job he has or what? Maybe he had amnesia while shooting or something like that. All I know is that, this could have been better. And Judas doesn't even seem evil! With a cast like this, we could drive Mel Gibson over the edge with talent! But no sir. It had to be wasted. PS- Jesus is NOT a myth, thank you very much! So I kinda think-room for improvement,definitely. Worth one watch? Of course!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Any one who has seen Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and was bothered by the gory violence would want to see this film instead. Though it wasn't a success in th box office or TV ratings, The Fox Movie Channel still finds a real good motive to show this anually. I liked the way that they trained Chris Sarandon and the men who portrayed his disciples to sing in Hebrew.Though Sarandon didn't have long hair like any other Jesus would in other films, his looks are pretty close to what a Jewish man would appear. What surprised me or startled me was the scene where Caiaphas told Jesus about Pilate "And don't ever forget, that you are a Jew!" Though that may have not been a racist remark,Colin Blakely was trying to make Chris Sarandon look like garbage in the eyes of the prominent men of those days.Keith Michell's portrayal of Pilate was hulking, comparing with his previous performances in "The Story of Jacob and Joseph" and "The Story of David". But if you compare his portrayal of Pilate with Telly Savala's or Hurd Hatfield, you can say that he really painted well the impression of a Roman procurator.
The first time I saw this film, I loved it. It was different.
I am a Christian (Bible believing). I don't go along with the crowd of right wing believers. I dropped out of that atmosphere.
To me in their attempts to take over our government they are doing what Judas tried to do. I call it the Judas Syndrome.
Judas didn't get it, even though Jesus said his Kingdom was not of this world.
This film certainly showed some of that.
I also liked that Jesus enjoyed the simple pleasure of playing games and jokes with his disciples.
Also he was a very gorgeous Jesus.
It's a watch-over and over movie.
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