The Passion of the Christ (2004) Poster

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A movie like no others...
bigmike17428 February 2004
The second the movie was over, I was dumbstruck, and I wasn't the only one. When the movie ended I thought there would be a big round of applause but when I turned around I saw that about half the audience was still in their seats. I looked at a couple of people, some were speachless and most were crying. Nonetheless I didn't hear a word. When I thought about it, i realized an applause would have been ridiculous.

When someone asked me how the movie was I was going to say it was amazing, but that wouldn't have done the movie justice. The movie was an extremely moving, emotional experience.

The cast was absolutely flawless, Jim Caviezel gave a powerful performance as Jesus, Maia Morgenstern as Mary brought me to tears, and even though Monica Bellucci spoke only a few lines, her performance and beauty astonished me. The score was incredible. It had a middle-eastern feel to it, and was timeless and beautiful.

Most aspects of the movie were perfect to me. Instead of a squeaky clean version of the life of Jesus it was a realistic and heartbreaking portrayal of his final hours. The Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew languages, and wonderful cinematography made you really feel like you were in first century Jerusalem. The flashbacks truly had an emotional impact on me.

While watching this movie I forgot about everything else in the world. Mel Gibson did an incredible job as a director and he truly was brave for taking on this project despite all the controversy.

As for the two main concerns of most people, the ultra-violence, and the alleged anti-semetism these are my views on the two.

Everything people are saying about the violence is true. It is brutal, gory, and quite possibly the most violent work in cinematic history. This R-Rating is very well justified and an NC-17 would have made sense. If you are the type of person that cannot bear violence, this is definately not the movie for you. Some scenes of torture last about 10 minutes when you feel you've seen enough after 30 seconds. But, the violence I feel was absolutely necessary. The movie is about the suffering/passion of Jesus, and turning the camera away would not have an impact on you. The movie shows what Jesus actually went through for all of mankind's sins (according to Christianity). Mel Gibson did not exagerate the violence or make it look like horror movie or Kill Bill violence. As Jay Leno said on his show the other night, when Jesus was hit it felt like WE were being hit as opposed to other violent movies were you feel like YOU are the one hitting the person. I don't think anyone can say that every single hit upon Jesus didn't affect him/her somehow.

As for the anti-semetism in the movie, I didn't find it was as bad as everyone is making it out to be. The thing that made me see why people were criticizing Mel Gibson for was that instead of spreading the blame somewhat on the Jewish high priests (Sanhedrin) and mostly on Pilate, 99% of the blame was put on the Sanhedrin, which seemed false to me considering that historically it is known that Pilate was a vicious monster, and in the movie he seems like a gentle person and reluctant to crucify Jesus. I simply didn't buy the fact that Pilate would be so nice. The movie can be considered anti-first-century-Romans, and anti-Sanhedrin, but I did not feel the movie was attacking the Jewish religion, or the entire Jewish people. But the movie is not anti-semitic for these reasons: 1. It is made evident that it was Jesus' prophecy and destiny is to die. He could probably have escaped from Gethsemane or even the cross (if he truly had ''powers''). He was born to die, and there is no blame to be placed on anyone. If anything, the Romans of that time are portrayed horribly (though realistically), and they are the ones that made him suffer tremendously before his death. 2. Basically all the ''Good Guys'' in the movie are Jewish. Jesus himself was a Jew, Mary was, The man that helped Jesus carry the cross was Jewish, Veronica the woman that brought Jesus water and wiped his face was, and many Jews were screaming in the crowd against the torture and crucifixion of Jesus. (Personally, I don't know why Pilate was portrayed so nicely. It's not like the Jews had the ultimate power. It was ultimately HIS decision to have Jesus crucified.)

An aspect of the film that intrigued me was the character of Satan, and the demons in the movie. When I first found out Satan was in the movie, I was scared it would be a red man with horns and a pitchfork, but he/she is portrayed subtly. Everything about him/her was very Eerie.

Mel Gibson deserves a lot of respect for making this film. He made the movie the way HE thought it was and though most historians or even religious figures would not agree completely to what happened, it is a general idea as to what those final hours were. When reading the new testament or hearing the story of Jesus, it's hard to understand what it was actually like for Jesus to go through all that pain, and what it was like for Mary to watch her son get tortured and crucified. The movie really put things in perspective for me.

Some people are criticizing him for adding things never written in the gospels such as demons harassing Judas Iscariot, most scenes with Satan, and the torture from Gethsemene to the Jewish court, but he had to fill the blanks in the Gospels with what he thought might have happened.

In conclusion, not everyone will like this movie. Some will love it, and some will hate it. But, I think that if you can endure the extreme violence and torture you should at least see it before you judge it. My opinion: 10/10
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Great visually stunning period piece
mstomaso5 September 2005
This film is neither preachy nor pedantic, and was a welcome surprise for me. As a non-Christian who nevertheless respects the historical figure of Jesus Christ and the beauty of his philosophy and teachings, I found The Passion to be a powerful portrayal of much that I think is worthwhile about the Christ story. I know the film has been maligned for anti-semitic content (perhaps because Jews make mistakes in the film and are seen as persecutors instead of victims? - it could have been anybody!), and for various other problems - but let's face it - any movie portraying this subject was bound to face strong reactions. And kudos to Mel Gibson for not shying away from the subject by creating a sterile, gutless, Disney story out of what really was a good example of the everyday horror of life on the fringes of the Roman empire. Gibson invents a new genre with The Passion - that of historical horror.

The performances in this film are inspired. I felt that the film brought out the cowardice of the apostles very forcefully, and the courage and love of the two Maries in Jesus' life was palpable to the very end. The effect of Aramaic and Latin, with the moody soundtrack, was spellbinding. Again kudos to Mel Gibson for his courage and artistic integrity on the decisions involved in these elements of the film.

Final word - this is not a film for the whole family nor is it a feel-good film. Don't see it if you're not willing to confront the worst aspects of human nature up close. And don't go in looking for your own version of the story - it's not your film! This is what Mr. Gibson believes, and it's his own revelation, not necessarily to be shared by all.
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Film making at its most powerful
ed270729 July 2004
It took me a long while to decide whether to see The Passion of the Christ. It had been my intention to since Mel Gibson first announced the project, but endless reports of the film's unflinching brutality made me fear it might be too much to bear. I eventually decided, however, that whether I really wanted to or not, this was a film I needed to see. It took me two viewings to really get a grip on it, so intense were the emotions it provoked in me. Even now, weeks later, re-examining it in detail is still deeply affecting. For those few still unaware, the film details the last twelve hours in the life of Christ. Its dialogue is entirely in Latin and Aramaic, with English subtitles, a remarkably bold decision by Gibson, and one that pays dividends. On one level it unites an international cast, sparing us any clashing accents, and gives the film a greater sense of authenticity. On another, it forced Gibson and his team into a very visual form of storytelling; even amongst the carnage there are shots of aching beauty.

Huge credit must go to the cast for mastering the language, and employing it in such universally excellent performances. As Jesus, James Caviezel has the immense task of embodying the most important figure in human history, and often doing so with little dialogue, and one eye swollen shut. Despite these handicaps Caviezel delivers a performance of great emotional depth, embodying quiet nobility and sacrifice. The performance that really stood out was that of Maia Morgenstern as Mary. The pain she conveys through her large and expressive eyes is heart-breaking, as she is forced to watch her child endure the most unimaginable suffering. Yet throughout the film she maintains an almost luminescent beauty, entirely befitting the mother of God.

One of the themes of the story emphasised by the film is the bond between Jesus and Mary. One flashback, found nowhere in the Bible, details the mundane routine of Jesus being called in from carpentry by His mother to eat. It was an immensely powerful reminder that for all He was the Son of God, Jesus was also the son of an ordinary woman, who He loved as any child loves its mother. It was also from this vein that the most powerful moment of the film sprang. As Jesus carries His cross, Mary begs John to get her closer to Him. She emerges into His path just as He fall under the weight of the cross. She runs to His aid, and as she does so the film cuts between this, and a similar moment when Jesus was a child and fell outside the house. While she could offer him protection then, now she is powerless; she weeps as the guards thrust her roughly away from her son, and so do we.

It is moments such as these that make the film so much more than the orgy of violence its detractors claim. For example, Peter's panicked betrayal, and subsequent horrified realisation of what he has done is handled in such a way as to move one to tears. There is also an immensely poetic moment near the film's end, in which the camera tracks the progress of a single drop of rain from miles above Golgotha, which falls as Jesus breathes His last: a teardrop from Heaven.

As a film, The Passion of the Christ is excellent; as a religious experience it is even better. Gibson has come under attack for focusing merely on Jesus' death, and omitting His message of love - this criticism is both unfair and ill-judged. In fact, he strikes the perfect balance, including flashbacks at pivotal moments of the film to events such as Jesus washing the disciples' feet, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Last Supper. These remain very true to the text, with quotes such as "You are my friends, and the greatest love a man can have for his friends is to give his live for them" (John 15:13) incorporated whole and delivered beautifully.

Even is there were no flashbacks, however, the point of the film would remain, and it is a vitally important one. It serves as a powerful reminder of the reality of what happened: Jesus did not merely die for us, He was killed by us in the most terrible way imaginable. It is something that can easily be lost through over familiarity with the text, and the flowery nature of other representations, but which must not be forgotten.

It has been said that "If Christ be not risen, then our faith is in vain", and the film has also been attacked for devoting just a few minutes to the Resurrection. Such criticism, however, betrays a very narrow minded approach; the manner in which this sequence is filmed conveys the full thematic significance it.

Perhaps the film's greatest impact has been to get me to pick up the Bible again, and do so with a new faith and understanding. And for that Gibson deserves nothing but praise.
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hydrorunner19 February 2004
View from the Second Star: The Passion of the Christ (Adam watched this film at a special preview in January)

It's hard to walk into a picture these days without knowing every detail about the movie. Trailers have shown too much story, reviews have jaded your perspective, or friends have refused to see it - movies get spoiled. Yet, sometimes, knowing the story is a far cry from seeing the event. For many, the story of the crucifixion is something they've grown up with, lived with, as far back as memory serves. I tell you this, no matter what you've heard, no matter what you know - you will be stunned by The Passion of the Christ.

From the opening shot to the falling credits, this film demands full control of ones body and emotion. So visually spectacular and physically gripping, this film had me literally convulsing as I attempted to watch what was onscreen. Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, starring Jim Caviezel, is a retelling of the last hours of Jesus Christ. Believe me when I say that this production is more than a story, more than a movie; this film can only be described as an experience.

This movie is fantastically brutal. From beginning to end, blood drenched flesh is smeared across the screen in a ghastly fashion. Gibson defends his incredibly graphic depiction by noting that the bible states Jesus was beaten beyond recognition. I assure you, beaten beyond recognition hardly describes soft tissue being torn to be the bone as blood drips into puddles on the ground. The violence shown in this movie is unlike other Hollywood violence - it's uncomfortably personal. The scenes are so believable, the violence so real, that the scenes appear to take place in your very presence; imagine before you a man being torn to bloody shreds; your helpless to do anything, you're a spectator - utterly horrific.

As any appreciator of the finer things in film might see, The Passion of the Christ is artistic genius. Mel Gibson stated that his film follows the last 12 hours of Christ in accordance to the gospel, and although biblical scholars have confirmed this to be true, it is also true that a certain artistic license was taken to particular moments in the story. Nothing anti-biblical was added, but inside a sense deep meaning was inserted through symbols and actions not actually recorded in the gospels. This artistry serves to aid the story and engage the audience - artistically and culturally, expect nothing less that a film superbly crafted. Set your expectations high, this one can handle them.

Unless you've been avoiding the media in recent months you've heard accusations of anti-Semitism against this movie: its going to rekindle a hate for Jews, its depicting the Jewish leaders of the day as monsters, and its showing that the Jews were solely responsible for the death of Jesus. I trust that once the movie is seen by the general public all of these statements will fade into the shadows; this movies greatest defense will be itself. It is true that the Jews were involved in the crucifixion of Christ, just as it's said in the bible for nearly two thousand years. Hearing this story doesn't swell up a hatred for the Jewish race, no more than watching Schindlers List makes one hate current day Germans. This film is going to be many things to many people - anti-Semitic is not one of them.

No matter your background, no matter your race, no matter your beliefs on the afterlife, this movie needs to be seen. The art, the culture, and the magnificence - see The Passion of the Christ and you will have seen the fantastic. Ten out of ten.

This has been a critical review by Adam Schellenberg
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The film accurately portrays the brutality of the times…
Nazi_Fighter_David30 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Gibson's controversial film is about one night different from every other… It is profound, beyond words… It illustrates what supposedly took place…

James Caviezel has little opportunity to show Jesus' spiritual charisma… His deep eyes movingly convey the anguish and pain of a man forced to drag his heavy cross through the narrow streets of Jerusalem to a place outside the city's walls... Caviezel is especially effective in the flashback sequences that show him preaching to his followers, and it's easy enough to wish that Gibson had included more of these precious moments…

Maia Morgenstern's Mary is heartbreaking as the mother of Jesus who recalls a poignant moment from Jesus' childhood… This beautiful Jewish Romanian actress comes across as a woman of incredible courage and caring… She is present at nearly every event after her son's arrest… She has little, if any, dialog… Instead she uses her body language and her eyes to convey her bleeding love at seeing her beloved son in excruciating pain… Her grief-stricken image at the foot of the cross with Jesus' blood on her face made the roughest, most anguished viewing of the whole film…

Monica Bellucci gives a quiet, yet forceful, performance as Mary Magdalene, the ever-grateful woman who is saved from a stoning to death…

Mattia Sbragia is convincing as the hateful, vengeful face, Caiphas, and Rosalinda Celentano puts a frightening depiction of the devil, which tries to sway Jesus from his destiny…

With realistic costumes and makeup, stunning cinematography, Gibson's film embodies the spirit of Baroque art in Italy… Its dramatic images reveal to everyone how much the Romans rule over Palestine was based on brute force alone…
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Misconceptions about the Passion
jakecamara10 August 2004
Obviously there are some people who are rather ignorant about the words they use and what the Passion of the Christ actually is supposed to be. The one user who said "There is nothing passionate about this movie" obviously did not research the meaning of the word Passion. The English word has its roots in the Latin passio, which means, simply, "suffering."

A search on "Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary" turns up:

PASSION: \Pas"sion\, v. i. To suffer pain or sorrow; to experience a passion; to be extremely agitated.

People also seem upset that this movie did not portray the times in Jesus' life when he was deep in ministry. The Passion of the Christ is a centuries old tradition. I recently visited Oberammergau, Germany and saw the site of the Passion Play that has been performed every decade since 1634. The Passion Play ONLY portrays the suffering of Christ. It is meant to bring the what Christ did for our sins to the forefront.
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This picture did what it was intended to do.
efenster-21 March 2004
A lot of critics I have heard disliked or even dismissed this movie. They seemed to think that the movie should have focused on Christ's ministry and his teachings, and not on the crucifixion and the events leading up to it. These critics miss the point of this movie. As with all movies, The Passion was directed at a target audience, in this case Christians. The point of the movie was simply this: to make Christians understand, in a visceral way, what they knew intellectually from reading the bible: that Christ endured a horrible and brutal death in order to save us from our sins. It was completely successful in this, and was, perhaps, the most powerful movie I have ever seen.
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Very Great, Biblically Accurate Movie..
Eyesalt19 March 2015
This movie by far shows the most Biblically accurate version of Jesus' crucifixion I've ever seen. It seems you rarely get accuracy like this from Hollywood lately when it comes to retelling of bible stories..

At least Mel retold it as it was actually written, unlike the bad, inaccurate, Bible-based movies that have come out as of late, such as Exodus and Noah.

The portrayal of Jesus' suffering- how badly he was mocked, beaten, whipped, and bloodied before being nailed to the cross, is very poignantly captured. This movie has great directing, acting and is all around great viewing for anyone who wants the retelling of the bible's version of what actually happened.
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Amazing film on multiple levels.
matthew-862 March 2004
Mel Gibson has done the impossible. He has created a tale of the Christ that works on three separate levels.

As a spiritual message, the film is overwhelming, bringing tears of renewal to the believers in the audience. Even if you are not a believer, though, I still think there is something in this for you.

As an historical observation, the film is brilliant, depicting the social and political dynamics of the Romans and Sanhedrin with clarity and accessibility. This is the most believable interpretation of what happened to Christ, and although I knew the story going in, I found myself getting caught in the narrative, hoping someone would realize that this was an innocent man and that the persecution would stop.

Finally, as a work of art, this film is unparalleled. Mel borrows from the works of Caravaggio, Puntarmo, Michelangelo and Leonardo et. al., as well as the Medieval Passion Plays. As one who was made to study this in college, it all came back to me in a graphic context, with production design so amazing that it felt like I was going back in time, that I was seeing Jesus and Pilate and Peter and Mary.

This film will rock your world, and that's an understatement. One of the most beautiful films I have seen.
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Religious, atheist, agnostic, it doesn't matter
Dan Grant26 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The Passion of the Christ is an undeniably moving and emotionally galvanizing experience and will indelibly stay in your conscience long after the credits roll. It is now 3 years later, and I saw the film once in the theaters, and I remember it like I saw it yesterday. And this is coming from someone who still hasn't made up his mind about religion. This is a one of a kind film that will affect you as long as you have a pulse. For those jaded enough to just view the film as anti-Semitic or just plain hooey, then perhaps I will stipulate that you will find something wrong with it. But for anyone who at least has a humanitarian side to them, this movie will get inside you and never leave.

Mel Gibson has lost much of his credibility when he got drunk one night and went off on Jews. This rant painted him as a hypocrite and that is very unfortunate because this film is one that at least has something to say. If nothing else, it shows us that humanity hasn't changed in 2000 years. We are still as violent as we ever were. We still don't value a human life anymore than we did when Jesus ostensibly walked the Earth. Christ apparently died for our sins and if you believe in this, if you accept the fact that Jesus got tortured more than any living thing should be, then you have to understand that this was done so that we could have our sins wiped away when entering the Kingdom. But it was also done, if you believe in Christianity and/or Catholicism, so that we could become better people. Why else would God allow his only begotten son to succumb to such despicable and inhumane treatment? One would hope that it is to better humanity, not make it worse. Although I didn't live in Biblical times, I can only assume that times are not any better now than it was then. Torture is still prevalent in myriad of countries, and even condoned by the U.S president himself...the most powerful man in the world. Famine is at an all time high and while the rich countries like the one I live in do little to help wipe it out, there are starving people even on our street corners. Altruism is a word that most people don't know how to spell let alone practice. Greed is everywhere and the opulence that is provided by the very Earth we live on is being destroyed and pillaged by those that should be thanking their lucky stars that we have this great place to live in.

What does this all mean? Does this have anything to do with the movie? Of course it does. As I said, if anything this film appeals to the humanitarian in all of us. I don't know how I feel about God, Jesus, John 3:16 and The Bible and so on. But even though I am ambivalent to all of this, I still have emotions and I do respect a human life. And if a man, deity or human, was actually treated this way by a society that existed 2000 years ago or 10 days ago, it is bothersome. If there was a man named Jesus Christ that existed and taught us to be altruistic and benevolent and peaceful, he would be disgusted to see how we all turned out. The Passion of the Christ is about that man. It doesn't matter if he was a God, a spirit or the flesh and blood, this is a film about the power belief. But it is also about the power of corruption and corruption of power. And power can be absolutely corrupting and this is what has turned our world into a cesspool of the rich and dangerous. Because when you watch the film, the fear of this man, the fear of what he represented is what scared everyone.

The Passion of the Christ is a masterpiece of film making. I believe it wasn't nominated for anything because the donkeys that run Hollywood are powerfully corrupt as well and there are plenty of powerful figures who just don't agree with the supposed message and supposed anti-semitism. I don't really think Mel cares too much what the rest of Hollywood thinks of him as this film apparently netted him more than 300 million dollars as he funded the film by himself. I say good for him. It's a shame alcohol makes you say such asinine things because Mel damaged his reputation beyond repair when he did so, but that shouldn't take away from the brilliance of this film.

James Caviezel is a miracle as the Christ figure. Speaking in an entirely different language he conveys the passion, the fear, the emotion and the spirit of Jesus Christ. I can't imagine another actor playing this part.

The Passion of the Christ is one of the most moving motion pictures of all time. It brought me to tears. Tears of anger, tears of sorrow and tears for fear. As I said, this is coming from someone who sits on the fence when it comes to religion. If you are a Christian or a practicing Catholic, this film will move you like no other.

10/10 Love it or hate it for what it says, you cannot deny how it will make you feel.
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The cause of confusion
littlefi18 May 2015
I've seen a lot o people talking trash about this movie - even a lot of christians -, and I find it hard to understand why. Philosopher Peter Kreeft called it the "most beautiful movie ever made", and when I think about it in the light of the Christian faith, it's hard to disagree.

First of all, passion means suffering, and for all those people that complain about the violence in the movie, I think it's because they don't get Christ's Passion at all. The emphasis on violence is fundamental, as it's what reveals how much God suffered because of what I did. So I, the spectator, am experiencing with all my emotions what I can only imagine and reflect about when reading the Gospels. And I'm not the kind of person that reads about Jesus crucified and direct relates it to all the bad things I did to contribute to that moment, and even when I do, it's more like in a lucid, almost indifferent way, while the movie forces me to feel the burden that I've put on My Lord's shoulder.

This is of course from my Christian perspective, and I wouldn't even try to talk about what's great in the movie from a secular perspective. The lens through which one watches it it's what define its greatness. And that lens is faith. So I really don't think it's a big deal if an atheist doesn't like it; but if a catholic doesn't like it I'll be confused.

The way Jim Caviezel plays Jesus is so powerful. He seems very humble, very vulnerable, very soft, yet very strong and confident. When he talks to the people, you feel so much goodness in his tone; when he is accused of blasphemy you can feel his innocence even if nothing is spoken. When he is carrying the cross and falls, Mary runs to him and it's such a symbolic scene of how much she loves her Son, and how much she wants His suffering to end, even though she accepts the will of God.

Mel Gibson did a great job with all the symbolism in the movie: Mary's obedience; Judas' desperation; all the people shocked by Jesus' mere presence. There's so much of it, and it feels so natural.

I can only assume that christians that don't like The Passion of the Christ are those that didn't actually take their time to think about the Passion of Christ. The movie is a chance to do so. It's ugly and repulsive? Yes, but only for a moment. When you realize that it captures the essence of God's love for humanity, it becomes eternally beautiful. Jesus didn't have to do that. He did because of me, because of you; because He is the good shepherd that lays his life for the sheep.

So what if the reality of the Passion is full of gore and tears and injustice? We are the cause of that, and sometimes we better realize it by having it thrown on our faces, however hurt we may end up feeling. Just remember that our pain is nothing compared to our Lord's pain. I can only speak for myself when I say that my love for my Savior is very small; but I know very well that He loves me with a heart that is ready to bleed without hesitation, even though I'm not worth it.
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Once In A Lifetime
marcosaguado18 March 2004
You may have an experience like this in a movie theater, once in a lifetime. I haven't been able to take those images out of my mind. What an incredible achievement. It works in so many different levels that it would be impossible to list them. It touched me in a way no film has done before. It provoked such degree of hatred around my neck of the woods, that it goes to prove how the devil reacts to holy water. Most people I spoke to in Los Angeles had made up their minds about the film before actually seeing it. What's that all about? At the end of the day Mel Gibson had the last laugh or the right to have it, although I don't believe that he is laughing. He seems to be unafraid, fueled by his faith and convictions, a man of his word. That in itself must confuse the hell out of Hollywood. All religious considerations to one side this is an artistic masterpiece. You may agree or disagree, but why not to make up your own mind?
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an honest review about this controversial film
sweety20118 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
it seems as many reviews on here aren't reviewing the film but are reviewing it's topic, which depicts the last days of Jesus, and therefore there are different opinions based on their religious or non-religious views, or based on the brutality in which this film portrays the crucifixion of Jesus like they think it is trying to brainwash the viewers into becoming a believer/Christian. this film isn't about any of that.

it attempts to be different than other films about Jesus in its portrayal, as others depict his life in English, a language not used amongst them, and using whips as scourging rather than a Roman flagrum, which is similar to using a cat o' nine tail. as great there have been films to illustrate Jesus' life, such films as Jesus Christ Superstar, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Jesus of Nazareth, The Messiah, Jesus (with Jeremy Sisto), to name a few, they never went to such lengths as this film went. is this film better for it? that's debatable, but something I am in favour of, and here's why..

I went to view this film with my sisters as soon as it hit the theaters here, despite my mother's disapproval. she had heard of the woman who had a heart attack and died, at the scene of Jesus' scourging, and has never seen this film as a result. when viewing the film, one can see why. some scenes are hard to take. Mel Gibson went through quite an effort to research the Aramaic language, one that has been lost for quite some time, and it's understandable that someone would think it not accurate. however, no other filmmaker has attempted this, and at the same time, a film that also features Hebrew and Latin combined, as the languages were at the time with the Jews and Romans. as mentioned earlier, the film also uses the Roman flagrum, and that's where the brutal scene is. we see skin falling of James Caviezel's back when they scourge him, and with that, a lot of blood. it's a hard watch, but a realistic one at that. along with this, we also see sightings of the devil as told in the bible, and the events of Judas after he wants to take back what he said, which after the refusal, it is said that he went crazy, started to see things, and hanged himself. the film shows he being tormented by the children, and we also see him hanging himself to the point he is hanging. the scene that impacted on me the most is when Mary (Maia Morgenstern) and Mary Magdalen (Monica Bellucci) are left to clean up Jesus' blood. for me, that was the hardest watch, as I truly felt sympathy for Jesus' mother, and was drawn to tears. I didn't know if it was just me crying at that scene, but as I looked around the room, I did not see anyone who was not crying. everything else in the film, it didn't affect me because I was prepared for it. James Caviezel is great as Jesus, and I rather liked the performance Hristo Shopov gave of Pontius Pilate, and Giacinto Ferro gave of Joseph of Arimathea, and that of John and Peter (Christo Jivkov and Francesco De Vito). the overall cast were quite perfect for their roles really.

For me, this film is a true gem, and it's one that is loved by my dad, my sisters and I alike. so much so, that since its release in 2004, we haven't missed a year of viewing this film, as it is a film we watch every good Friday. I especially love it because it skips right to the final days, rather than retells Jesus' life, as that does get repetitive-seen it all before. Finally a film that is brave enough to go that extra mile.
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More powerful and meaningful than I would have thought
d_grey28 February 2004
This movie truly impressed. From the acting, to the cinematography, to the overall production value and obvious work of love that this film is.

There is violence, there is brutality. But it is not cheap senseless violence or brutality, it is part of the story and it is rather enlightening and revealing compared to the candy coated films of the past.

That's not to say that this movie does not show the love and compassion of God as some of the detractors would like to have you believe. It that the love is told in a very humanized and beautifully subtle manner that does not reek of typical cheap Hollywood melodrama.

As for Anti-semitism, I did not detect any it is the story from the gosphels told the way it was. If this movie is anti-semitic than so is the bible. And that would be an absurd assertion.
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Very upsetting for all the wrong reasons.
Naphthous7 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This may contain minor spoilers for those who aren't familiar with the Gospels.

My analysis of this film is as follows:

As a version of scripture: quite bad. Mel definitely adds whatever he feels like; it's funny that the religious right has long attacked The Last Temptation of Christ (on this board, too) for its liberties, but that movie wasn't intended to be 'accurate.' This one is, supposedly, and that's a shame, because I don't remember the Gospels including any instances of Jesus using his power for trite little tricks like sitting on air. I mean come on, even the Jedi in Star Wars take their power more seriously than that; we should not expect less from the Son of God. Add to that the eye-pecking of the thief and the demon-children who chase Judas around... as a version of scripture, this is weak because it's not interesting, and abominable because it pretends to accuracy but does not deliver it.

As a work of art: awful. Braveheart, The Patriot, Pearl Harbor, any other dumb sentimental Hollywood 'epic' tripe that is shamelessly manipulative in technique and beats you to death with its opinions and plastic message. Redundant slow motion, painfully silly camerawork at times (Jesus's upside-down point-of-view shot comes to mind), rife with historical inaccuracies (Jesus carrying the whole cross as opposed to just the beam, the nails going into the hands, not the wrists...), and pathetically acted by the female leads, who show almost no emotion when they could evoke justly-earned tears with the hysterical wailing that was probably called for.

Another glaring failure of this film is its inability to decide whether to be symbolic or literal. The claim most 'Christians' are making is that the extreme violence in this film is justified for the sake of realism. Well, I don't buy it; this movie is not even trying to be realistic/literal. Consider the appearance of Satan, the (heavy-handed) symbolism surrounding Judas's death, etc.

Which leads me to an oft-made point: there is no justification for the pervasive level of violence in this film. Mel does nothing to lend it context, thus it is totally unearned. Mel's obsession with this, especially to the extent to which it excludes Jesus's all-important message, is distressing to me.

The characters are wooden. There's simply nothing else to say here. If you watched the movie, you got to see one dimension of each character.

On the good side: Jim Caviezel's performance was excellent. Great casting; I was surprised and please Mel didn't pick a super-attractive Jesus. I liked the choices of the disciples as well. Satan was creepy (but don't get me wrong, the fact that Satan existed at all was way off base in my opinion). There were some nice shots, but they were mostly ruined by the super-shiny look, featuring sappy, more-colorful-than-real-life-even-is coloration.

As a means for proselytizing: dismal. Anyone seduced by the Hollywood gloss of this movie is not coming to Christ for the right reason, nor with the proper understanding, since the film does not teach us anything. Read the Gospels.
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Not an Anti-Semitic Movie
cheesaburger26 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was really good and very religiously inspiring. The brutality of some of the seems should not of been the focus of so many movie reviews because it was only secondary to the true message in the movie of love and what true love made a man do for all of mankind. It emphasised how much Jesus suffered for all of us. Beside this so many film critics and people who had problems with both Mel Gibson and the Catholic Church said this film was anti-semitic but i agree with Mel Gibson when he says that this film was just going along with what is said in the gospels and who accuses the gospels of being antisemetic? No one, because it isn't and had a message of forgiveness predominately in it as does the Passion of Christ - it does'nt leave out Jesus saying 'Father forgive them for they know not what they do' - Jesus forgave those responsible for his death and everyone - some Jews were responsible for his death as were some Romans and some future Catholics but we do not hold anything against the other Jews or of the time or those Jews andothers actually responsible or against any Jews now or any descendants of those who might've had a part in Jesus' death and those that claim to be Catholic and do are not Catholic truly. This movie is a inspiring movie and the talent of Mel Gibson indirecting and producing it is evident in the quality of the filming and the the way in which the sequence of events along with flashbacks is portrayed.
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The Good & Bad Of 'The Passion Of The Christ'
ccthemovieman-122 April 2007
I can't believe I didn't write a review after seeing this, but I must have incorrectly presumed I did. With so many other reviewers by now, I'll make my points as brief as possible.

GOOD - Kudos for someone finally presenting an accurate account of Christ's sufferings, as gruesome and horrible as they were, although, if you read the Gospel accounts in the Bible, it was even worse than shown on this film. Jesus' face was beaten to a pulp and "unrecognizable" so keep that in mind if you think the film overdid the beatings. However, the overall effect is that there isn't anything sanitized in this film; it's an according-to-the-Book account and after you see this on film, it shakes you up.

I heard that people were so stunned they couldn't speak for about a half hour after coming out of the theaters. I thought that was probably exaggerated, but it wasn't. I felt the same way, just stunned at what I had witnessed. As a Believer, it was something I needed to see to remind me of what this God-in the flesh human voluntarily went through. For non-Believers, scoffers or whatever, I don't know what your reaction was to the film but for me, it was a humbling, sobering experience.

THE BAD - The unrelenting brutality against Jesus the last three-quarters of this film is so bad that, frankly, I would hesitate before ever watching this again. One viewing is enough. I am amazed so many people sat through this, including Christians. I wish director/producer Mel Gibson had shown more of Christ's resurrection instead of centering 99 percent of this movie on his suffering, although I understand Mel's point. However, all of Jesus' claims and sufferings are meaningless without the resurrection, so why not emphasize that instead of just tacking it on for the last minute or two? Just asking.

It's a cliché, but this is a film you won't soon forget, but I would add to that, one you probably won't want to watch multiple times.
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"Why is this night unlike any other . . . "
icfarm1 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"Why is this night unlike any other night?" Mary Mother of Jesus asks Mary Magdalene on the night Christ is arrested, to which Magdalene replies, "Because once we were slaves, and now we are free". This, in my interpretation, forges a quite beautiful link between Judiasm and Christianity, as this question and answer, or some variation of it, is recited at traditional Passover Seders to commemorate the beginning of ancient Jews' escape from their Egyptian overlords, but could also apply here to those of us, including myself, who are believers that Christ was and is the Son of God, as we see this night as the beginning of our "freedom" from eternal death and the end of our "slavery" to sin.

This film has been criticized for its level of violence; I read one other reviewer who commented that this film was for people who "like pulling the legs off of bugs", or something to that effect. This, of course, is the common attitude of people who misunderstand what the story of the Passion of our Lord means to those of us who believe in Him. It is not about taking pleasure in His or anyone else's pain; it is about an admittedly painful reminder of just WHAT He was willing to endure for (we believe) our salvation. It is NOT about "sadomasochism", "anti-Semitism", or any other negative thing; it is about LOVE, SALVATION and, again, LOVE. In fact, the kind of LOVE that would drive our Lord to do what He did can only be spelled in capital letters; it is more than we can comprehend.

Now, on to the performances. Mr. Caviezel was absolutely magnificent. Never have I seen a human face, on film or in reality, that looked so brutalized and yet so peaceful, even in the throes of agony. Whether you believe Christ was in fact the Saviour or not, his performance is the embodiment of infinite, unconditional LOVE, peace and grace under the pressure of unimaginable physical and emotional abuse, and, in the flashback scene between Christ and His Mother, JOY! Yes, there is joy in this film, albeit briefly, as Jesus shares a laugh and a kiss on the cheek with His Mother (after obediently washing His hands before entering their home to eat). Caviezel is amazing, and the other actors are up to par with him. And, for all the brutality leading up to it, the depiction of the Resurrection is simply breathtaking - so much so that it made me forget the horrors immediately preceding it.

See the film with an open mind whatever your beliefs or religion. Do not believe the negative things you have heard (if you ever believed them) and perhaps, if not Christian yourself, you will come to understand what this Man means to your brothers and sisters in humanity who do take Him as their Saviour. God bless you all (whoever you are, whatever you believe).
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It is not only complete gore, but also it doesn't tell anything about Christ
inakiligu223 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I am not a very religious person, but I sure find the bible (new and old testament) very intriguing. When I saw of the movie "passion of the Christ" I saw a small fraction of Jesus life, which might be very factual to the bible, but (in my opinion) did not make a big change for the religion. Through out Jesus's life, he taught all the good things of the Christian religion, not through his torture and death. I mean, how many martyrs have been tortured and killed? If I made a movie about the passion of Che or some other person, I would not get the religious vote, instead I would be marked as a gore movie writer. I don't know. I didn't like the movie as a movie, because it was basically the same thing I would see at the butchery, and religiously speaking, the movie did not speak to me.
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This movie did what eight years of religion class failed to do
beckrbug12 October 2004
I saw this movie the night it came out with my boyfriend. We are both Roman Catholic. My bf is more "religious" than I am, I'll admit, but after seeing this movie, I think I really understand and appreciate why I was Baptized and Confirmed. If you are Catholic or Christian or whatever you want to call your beliefs in Christ, do yourself a favor and see this movie. (Don't worry, it's far less gory on your home TV.) About three minutes into the movie until the bitter end and past the credits, my boyfriend and I held each other and cried. Mel Gibson, BRAVO. Who knew he had it in him? I thought he was just another rich movie star. Mel, if you read these YOUR MOVIE WAS AB SOUL UTELY BRILLIANT! I never really understood why my Mom wanted me to go to Church and why she cried and was so insulted when I told her two days before my Confirmation that I was having doubts. My Mom believed in something I could not grasp by the teachings of my Church alone. Maybe it's because we are so used to gore in today's society that I didn't really think twice that Jesus had to endure all these things. Maybe it's because no one takes the time to show and explain to kids just exactly what all those lashings would do to your flesh.

(NOT over the top - I think this was a brilliant move with the lashings and the cattails - to show us the horror that words alone cannot portray.) Mel Gibson's portrayal of Jesus and those who loved him during these last few hours is breathtaking. His portrayal of Satan is also quite interesting. Why shouldn't it be played by a woman? Haven't YOU had any dealings with them? I myself am a woman and I thought that was a pretty good idea, along with the maggot. Excellent way of telling us who that was.

This movie will make you a better Catholic/Christian/Whatever. It made me believe that even if the viewer doesn't think this man is the Messiah, He did suffer ever so much for a cause that HE believed in. That is enough for me: The fact that this Man believed that if He died on the cross that all humankind would be saved, and the fact that He carried this out, is amazing.

You might think that He was just some nut, or probably didn't exist at all, but the fact of the matter is that this is a historically documented tale about someone who's belief was larger than life itself. GO SEE THIS MOVIE. Oh, and about whether or not it's anti-Sematic, um...go read the Bible. It's not Mel's fault....
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More gratuitously violent than the worst slasher film
CinemaDude17 January 2005
I think most every critique I've heard pro and con about THE PASSION so far has been colored by ideological glasses. The Jewish contingent hated it because they perceived it as portraying the Jews in a bad light. I understand that, but I can find lots of titles that portray different groups not to their liking. My criticism -- the real objection to how the Jews were portrayed -- was that they were nothing but caricatures, the result of a terrible script and worse directing.

This is the worst failing that can be leveled at any screenplay and any director, and it impugns the integrity of the film more than political overtones. This is the same criticism leveled at the portrayal of the Roman soldiers -- they are nothing caricatures. Can it be that not a single Roman had ANY trace of compassion or humanity? How stereotyped is that? And how totally unbelievable. If anything, the Italians should be even more insulted than the Jews about the portrayal of their country men.

But then comes the gratuitous, unrelenting is abhorrent. I got it Mr. Gibson -- Christ was scourged. I got it in the first 3 min of the scourging; I got it after the next 15 minutes. To prolong those torture scenes was about the most viscous, unnecessary violence I have ever seen on a movie screen. I would have thought there would have been an outcry from every corner of the political and religious spectrum about that -- from the Jews, from the Christians and the especially from the Churches since all that violence was nothing more than using the suffering of Christ, whether you think he is the Lord or just a poor guy caught up in the politics of the day, he was a human being and to trade on that suffering to make a movie sensational, debases all of us. But I guess gratuitous violence is tolerable, even perfectly acceptable if it is enlisted to prove some religious ideology.

The film teaches us nothing. Not about the man, not about his divinity, not about the underlying historical context in which he was sacrificed -- absolutely nothing. I think it is a loathsome film and I am ashamed that so-called religious people overlooked all that is wrong with it and praised it just because, whether consciously or unconsciously, they could use it as a kind of weapon against another religious group. It is despicable mix feeding on violence and religious sensibilities to make a is so crass that even Hollywood, much to its credit, turned it down. But I guess where there is a buck to be made, SOMEONE will grab it to make more, no matter how sleazy the project. The fact that it was made independently of Hollywood doesn't absolve it of its glaring, disgusting faults.
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Passion of who?
n-j-terry14 April 2004
The Passion of the Christ - Mel Gibson 2004

So now I have seen it! Do I still think that you should go and see it? On balance yes, because I think Christians everywhere should be aware of what is in this film and be prepared to counteract the twaddle that it is. But go with your head on and not just your heart on your sleeve.

Theologically Mr. Gibson has removed from us from any sense of Christology that has developed through modern theological process to a medieval, catholic blood and guilt basis for faith. 'Love me because I stand here as a visceral pulp of flesh and it's all your fault' is not a basis for any kind of faith I think. I can find nothing in the film, which has brought me any new insight into Christ or in the personhood of God. We are probably more indebted for fresh insights into the nature of anthropomorphic sin as the devil appears in this passion a good deal more than in any other passion narrative I have seen. Auld Nick is even incarnated as a group of children during the film, which is a strange comment, from a director who grew up as one of 11 children and currently has 7 of his own. Is the androgenous nature of this character also a comment on different sexualities? How are we developed as a society be the relation of evil to physical disability in this film?

What we are left with is a documentary on how brutally effective Roman justice is on the borders of its then expanding empire. Even this I find uninspiring. That this film is bloody has never been in question and that is not an aspect of it that I find terribly unpleasant, as I had never imagined the passion to be anything else. Does Mr Gibson really think that I need to be informed that a good scourging, dragging a lump of timber for a few miles and then being nailed to it was a party? In this respect the film is patronising of me, is tedious in its bloodletting and wholly un-engaging as we have no depth of character for this lump of meat we see so generously tenderised prior to being killed. We see nothing of the life that makes this story a 'Passion'. If we are to find meaning in this death, then is not in the life that led up to it and followed it? We do not see anything much of either of these. Several very corny flashbacks as Jesus drifts in and out of pain induced delirium and a 30-second flash of collapsing shroud and poor CGI are all else we know from this film. The poor CGI, combined with slow motion, spinning, overarching, overhead camera angles and mood lighting also add a complete sense of unreality to this presentation.

I do not find the film to be overtly anti-Semitic as much is made of Jesus forgiveness for his persecutors and it is clear that not all of the Sanhedrin are behind the plot. Arguments have and will continue to rage as to the historical accuracy of this film. I am not scholar enough to comment accurately. I don't feel the urge to beat up Jews all of a sudden. I don't feel nauseated, guilty, elated or any of the other vividly emotive responses that are recorded by viewers of this film. I am sad and disappointed. Sad that Marx may be right about religion if the numbers seeing this film are any indication. Sad that whilst popular culture has held Robert Powell as its picture of Jesus for 30 odd years that it will now accept Cavaziel for its reflection of Christ. Disappointed that, that which I had held as the most amazing of stories has been reduced to this cinematic travesty of orgiastic blood letting.

Neal Terry 05/04/04
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The Irony Of The Christ
Jeremy25 April 2004
So I finally saw the Passion yesterday, I was trying to avoid giving more money to the box office machine. Not really because I'm not Christian or anything, I'm just that kind of person. Anyway, I'm writing it into my philosophy final so I figured I should see it.

From a film production standpoint it was straight up bad. If this movie gets oscars for anything other than sound effects (which were really good) it'll be a cryin shame.

The whole, it's so gross bloodfest thing. What were you expecting? Have you seen Braveheart or The Patriot? Mel lives on the blood. The thing about it was it looked like bad 80s horror movie blood. He put up 20 million of his own dollars and got that?

From the Christian standpoint. It was pretty close to the Bible as I would expect from an LMU priest, the advisor for the film is one of my professors. The one major, huge, enormous artistic license he took was stabbing Jesus with the spear after he was already dead. Everything I've ever been taught and read from two different versions of the bible and four different denominations has said there were five wounds. The crown of thorns, left hand, right hand, feet, and the spear in the side was the last indignity he had to suffer before he died. I'm curious why they did it like that.

Finally and most importantly, the message. Walking out of the theater I was tearing up or wanting to confess my sins like the news says, all I could think was how incredibly, unbearably ironic this whole movie and reaction by society is given the state of the world and christianity right now. It amazes me that people will watch this movie and say how powerful it is and be rejuvenated into living their lives to follow and be like Christ when they are in the same breath for war and the death penalty and hate gays because some obscure verse in Leviticus tells them to. People always ask me why I hate religion and I don't hate religion at all. This is the problem that I've had with all religions, not just christianity since I stopped going to church about 7 years ago. The glaring contradictions in the lives of religious people need to stop before I go back to any kind of organized faith.

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Absolute crap
prowlinglunatic19 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Before I had gone to see this movie, I had been fed a lot of hype. One of my more intelligent friends (or so I thought) described it as one of the best movies she had ever seen. The newspapers had labeled it as an "epic masterpiece," and so on. So, naturally, I had to see it. Disappointment doesn't even begin to describe what I felt. This movie is an absolute pile of crap. I will give credit where credit is due: the violence is magnificently realistic. I was in awe at a couple of points during the whipping, the first being where you get a view of Jesus' back as he's being whipped, and the extremely realistic cuts appear as the flail flashes across his flesh, and the second being where the metal tips of the flail embed in his side, and the soldier viciously yanks it out, tearing of bits of flesh in the process. Other than that, however, I can easily say that Mel Gibson does not know how to write a movie. He can direct very well, as the camera mechanics and such give a pretty epic feel, but he can't write if his life depended on it. The movie basically entails Jesus being dragged back and forth throughout the city as the Jewish council elders search for permission to kill him, then Jesus carrying the cross, then Jesus being nailed to the cross and hanging there to rot. That's pretty much the whole movie right there. The film has a very "hit and run" feel to it, as it touches upon vital bits of stories from his life only for a few seconds at a time. Personally, I was bored out of my mind for the last forty minutes of the film. Maybe it the film had... oh, what's the word.... oh, yeah, a PLOT. Maybe if it had some semblance of that, or at the very least, a bit more of His lessons than the mere sprinkling of visions that we get, then, then, THEN, maybe, just maybe, it would be an acceptable film. As it is, I simply want the two hours of my life back, or at least my $9.50. Hell, THEY should have paid ME to watch this atrocity, not the other way around. Oh, well. You can either trust me, or go see it yourself and realize how atrocious this film is.


An "F" is avoided simply because of the special effects. Nothing else in this film is worth any merit.
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An interesting film but nothing great
christian12319 March 2005
The Passion of the Christ is a great movie and a visually attractive one as well. Depicting the last twelve hours of Jesus (Jim Caviezel), The Passion of The Christ shows the trials, the torture and the death by crucifixion of the influential man behind one of the nation's most widespread religions. This is the first time something like this has been attempted and the results are great. Mel Gibson does such a good job of directing and he got a great cast as well. James Caviezel plays Jesus and his performance is so good you wonder why he isn't more popular. Monica Bellucci has a small role in the film but her performance is still good. The rest of the cast also do good job. The entire film is in Latin and Aramaic but the visuals speak for itself. The Passion was snubbed from the Oscars as this is defiantly best picture material. While I did enjoy the film, I did think that they went overboard with the whipping. The film was good but there was a lack of spirituality so I don't think it will necessary convert people but it might make them think about it. There's also a lot of blood and violence in the film so its best if kids not watch this. Rating 7/10 Whether you agree with the message or not this is still a well made movie that's worth watching.
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