The Passion of the Christ
Directed by: Mel Gibson
Starring: James Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern & Monica Bellucci
Length: 127 min.
Released: February 25, 2004
A depiction of the last twelve hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, on the day of his crucifixion in Jerusalem. The story opens in the Garden of Olives where Jesus has gone to pray after the Last Supper. Betrayed by Judas Iscariot, the controversial Jesus–who has performed ‘miracles’ and has publicly announced that he is ‘the Son of God’–is arrested and taken back within the city walls of Jerusalem. There, the leaders of the Pharisees confront him with accusations of blasphemy; subsequently, his trial results with the leaders condemning him to his death. Jesus is brought before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Palestine, for his sentencing. Pilate listens to the accusations leveled at Jesus by the Pharisees. Realizing that his own decision will cause him to become embroiled in a political conflict, Pilate defers to King Herod in deciding the matter of how to persecute Jesus. However, Herod returns Jesus to Pilate who, in turn, gives the crowd a choice between which prisoner they would rather to see set free–Jesus, or Barrabas. The crowd chooses to have Barrabas set free. Thus, Jesus is handed over to the Roman soldiers and is brutally flagellated. Bloody and unrecognizable, he is brought back before Pilate who, once again, presents him to the thirsty crowd–assuming they will see that Jesus has been punished enough. The crowd, however, is not satisfied. Thus, Pilate washes his hands of the entire dilemma, ordering his men to do as the crowd wishes. Whipped and weakened, Jesus is presented with the cross and is ordered to carry it through the streets of Jerusalem, all the way up to Golgotha. There, more corporal cruelty takes place as Jesus is nailed to the cross–suffering, he hangs there, left to die. Initially, in his dazed suffering, Jesus is alarmed that he has been abandoned by God his father. He then beseeches God. At the moment of his death, nature itself over-turns.
So, seeing as how it’s Easter I figured it was only appropriate to watch The Passion of the Christ. This is a tough movie for anyone to watch. It’s not really the type of movie that you say you “enjoyed” watching. You aren’t suppose to enjoy it…it’s suppose to make you think, and put things into perspective. And if you do “enjoy” it…well then you’re just some sick sadist with a vehement hatred for Jesus or something. A note, for those that are a bit queezy by the show of graphic violence in movies, there is an edited version available on DVD.
I have made a habit of trying to watch this movie once a year and only once a year. That usually ends up being around Easter. Any more than once a year seems a bit excessive, and the “shock” value that is intended is easily lost. Christian or not, this film is an amazing story about the pain, sacrifice and suffering that Jesus was willing to endure…all powered by love. This is a kind of sacrificial love that needs to be seen by most Christians today. The sacrifice and devotion Jesus had to willingly push on through all of this is inspiring…it really is.
Then, as a Christian, I know that he did all that for me…that just blows my mind. Anyone who doubts their worth as a person need only look at what Jesus chose to endure and suffer on their behalf to see they are truly valued by God.
All religious significance aside…
Even if you aren’t a Christian this movie is just done so well. It really is an epic film and totally worth watching at least once. Jim Caviezel pulls of an amazing performance. Had there not been so much pointless “anti-religion” controversy surrounding this film he would have at least been nominated for an Oscar. To pull of such a strong performance, and in a dead language no less…just an amazing performance. But let’s be real, anyone taking on the role of Jesus isn’t going to get nominated for an Oscar…no matter how good it is.
Then there is one of my favorite aspects of any truly good & epic film…the musical score. This one is incredible! It adds so much to the mood, flow and dynamic of the film. It’s one of my favorite sound tracks (Pity, I still don’t have a copy of it. I’ve been looking but it’s hard to find). If you are a dork like me and love motion picture scores…this one is a must have. I know…I don’t have it, but I still stand by my opinion (and the score did get nominated for an Oscar if I remember right, as did cinematography).
All in all this movie is totally worth the watch. If you don’t know much about the story of Jesus or if it’s been a while. It might be worth reading about before you watch it. That helps to put this portion of the “Gospel Story” into perspective. I know there are a lot of people out there that may know about the story. You may “have a pretty good idea,” but there are some things about this movie that really click (if even from just a literary perspective for the “non-religious” out there) if you take the time to just read it yourself. I think they based the movie on the accounts written in the Gospel of John. It’s a rather quick read, and really helps set up the film.
I’ve said all of that to say this. 5 Stars out of 5. It’s a real unique, epic and inspiring film.