The Apostle's creed is the basis for The passion of the Christ', which states:
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified dead and buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven; he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead'
So what is it that we celebrate at Easter? Is it for the chocolate eggs that we buy for one another or perhaps for the image of a man who died on the cross without so much as a scratch? No, I believe that it is for a man, the one perfect person to have walked this earth, who had to endure a death that was so cruel and unjust, that it killed off, not only a great man, but the sins of mankind as well. Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ' is one of the most unrelenting, unforgiving and powerful pieces of cinema that the world is ever likely to see, one which has a strong, poignant message.
The film opens with Jesus (well played by Jim Caviezel), very unsettled, in a state of disharmony, praying to God in The Garden of Gethsemane', with his disciples. At this point we have a very chilling confrontation between Jesus and Satan (Italian actress Rosalinda Celentano). Here Satan tries very hard to tempt Jesus and make him doubt his destiny'. She says no one man can carry the burden of man's sin'. However, Jesus continues to defy Satan. One of the great moments in the movie has to be when Jesus proves once and for all that Satan's power is finally coming to an end.
Through all this, Judas (Luca Lionello), a disciple of Jesus, tells Caiaphas (Mattia Sbragia), a powerful Roman high priest, the whereabouts of Christ. Quite early in the film, you get the gist Jesus is hated by the majority of people. Back to Gethsemane, where Guards capture Jesus, not before his disciples try to defend their leader. Here we see Jesus perform his final miracle (the repairing of a guard's severed ear). After this Jesus surrenders and the movie starts showings a very rough, violent and unrepenting treatment towards Christ.
At his trial, Jesus is accused by Caiaphas and the other high priest of all sorts of crimes. Caiaphas then asks for Jesus to be crucified by Pontius Pilate (Hristo Shopov), who is in charge of prisoner's punishment and/or deaths. He is already amazed by the treatment already inflicted on Jesus. Pilate personally questions Jesus and sees no reason for him to be punished, let alone crucified. Yet the boisterous crowd continue to chant crucify him'.
After much deliberation, Pilate allows Jesus to be punished'. Here is where the film gets really graphic and violent. Christ is whipped and beaten unceremoniously by Guards who get great pleasure from it. This part of the film goes on for along time and for some people is difficult to watch. But I am glad that we see Jesus taking his punishment, as he knows he must, getting rid of sin'. After this punishment, Pilate gives the people what they want Christ crucified'.
Jesus is given a heavy wooden cross to carry on his back, which he struggles with through the streets of Jerusalem. While doing this, the people spit, mock and jeer at him. Here the movie shows two interesting images. Firstly, we see Satan weaving through the crowd, fascinated by the event. Secondly, we have Mary, Jesus' mother (Maia Morgenstern) and Mary Magdalene (Monica Bellucci) who openly weep at the proceedings taking place. Mary is an emotional character, obviously hurt by what she is seeing happen to Jesus.
Towards the end of Jesus journey with the cross, a farmer, Simon from Cyrene (Jarreth J. Mertz), is ordered to help a weak Jesus carry the Cross. He is a great help to Jesus, who appreciates it. The crucifixion of Jesus, while hard to watch, is terrific in my view, as it shows how devastating an event it really was. Seeing the nails' go into Jesus' hands and feet was an amazing visual image. After Jesus dies, a change overtakes the film, as we see God, show his power and anger, destroying the temple and scaring the people. I will not give away the film's ending, but I found it to be a brilliant' conclusion, not like the typical Jesus crucifixion film'.
I give Mel Gibson, his actors and crews all praise for their performance on the film. Gibson certainly made this film the way he wanted to, unequivocally and graphic, but I have no problem with that, or with the Arabic language and English subtitles. I also love the way Gibson shows certain memorable Jesus flashbacks', which are some of the more compassionate and easier scenes to watch in the film. I totally disagree that this film is Anti-Semitic', as that is not the point to Gibson's movie, rather it is the sacrifice the messiah' makes for all of God's people. The resemblance to Gibson's Braveheart' and this film, is amazingly ironic in my view.
I have heard and read many positive and negative reviews on this film. In my opinion, I believe that this is a great film, a must see' for any Christian. A fortnight before I saw this film, I collapsed with heart troubles' just hours before I wanted to see this film on that particular day. Perhaps God wanted me to wait and see this film at a different time, who knows? All in all, I am very thankful to God for sending his only son' to take the punishment for my sins, when I realise that it should have been me in Christ's place. What a sacrifice this is!
CMRS gives The Passion of the Christ': 5 (Brilliant Film)
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