Movie Review
The Passion of the Christ
The Passion poster
By Gareth Von Kallenbach     Published February 25, 2004
US Release: February 25, 2004

Directed by: Mel Gibson
Starring: James Caviezel , Monica Bellucci , Maia Morgenstern , Francesco Cabras

Running Time: 127 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $370,773,867
Despite the controversy and lack of commercial appeal of the film, Gibson put his heart into the production and created one of the best films of the decade.
Perhaps the most controversial film of our time, ?The Passion of the Christ? has arrived amidst much speculation and controversy. Not since ?The Last Temptation of Christ? has a film garnered so much controversy, and that film did not have a star like Mel Gibson attached to it.

?The Passion? shows the final hours of Jesus leading to his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. The film opens with Jesus (Jim Caviezel) and some of his Disciples in the garden as Jesus contemplates what is to come and prays that this burden that is to be passed from him is God?s will. Jesus is visibly afraid and is unsure of what to do, as he knows Judas has betrayed him and that troops are on the way to arrest him. Jesus is soon arrested and is beaten and taken before the Jewish elders to be accused of heresy for teaching beliefs, which contradict the locale doctrine and for encouraging others to follow his teachings.

Jesus is taken before the Roman consul, who decides to punish and not execute Jesus, as he does not believe that his crimes are worthy of death. Politics soon envelop the situation, as the Romans fear an uprising if the wishes of the council are not followed, forcing Jesus to be ordered for crucifixion. While I am not one to give away vital parts to a film?s story, I take it that the majority of readers will know at least this much. The emphasis on the film is on what Jesus had to endure during the final hours of his life and the untold suffering and brutality that was put upon him for his beliefs.

The film is very intense and very violent, and it caused me to tear on more than one occasion, as the film is very emotional. It is hard to watch a person suffer, and especially one who many believe devoted his life for the betterment of all of us regardless of faith. I have always been one that believes that all people are entitled to their beliefs and that no group has the right to say that their way is the only way. In many ways, the film drives this point home, as Jesus prays for the forgiveness of those who are killing him even though they do not share his faith. The man who was killed as a threat to the society and doctrines of the community never wavered in his love for his fellow man and retained his compassion to the very end.

Gibson is to be commended for making a powerful and emotional film that can be enjoyed by people of all faiths. The film is a visual masterpiece that is highly detailed and is the most accurate depiction of the final hours of Christ ever committed to film. The use of Latin and Aramaic in subtitles underscores the attention to detail that Gibson put into his labor of love, and as such, he deserves praise. This is a bold and passionate film that attempts to tell the story in the way that it happened as accurately as possible.

While some of the scenes may be very difficult to watch, you will not forget the images anytime soon and will have a hard time not being emotionally moved by the work. The film doesn?t blame a group for Jesus? death: it is simply an account as to how and why it happened. The film also serves as a message that we should all embrace and tolerate the differences in our neighbors, as when we do not, atrocities happen.

As a student of history, I found myself pondering what would happen if a figure arrived today and encouraged others to follow a new path and not those of the traditional religions. If the said person were to become widely known, what would happen? Would they be called a cult and be prosecuted? Would they be ridiculed? Or would they be killed? This troubled me, as I think that despite nearly 2000 years of progress, there are those who would resort to violence, and such is the case of the film.

?The Passion? makes you think, and in this day of disposable films it is nice to see that despite the controversy and lack of commercial appeal of the film, Gibson put his heart into the production and created one of the best films of the decade. Gibson is a master storyteller and shows that he is a gifted director and producer and should be praised for his craft.
Gareth's Grade: A
Gareth's Overall Grading: 50 graded movies
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'The Passion' Articles
  • The Ultimate 3D Experience
    April 1, 2008    The Passion Goes 3D Easter 2009 -- Staff of LMI
  • Stephen's review B-
    March 3, 2004    With any interest in the film and sufficient religious familiarity, I?d suggest seeing ?The Passion? even if just for the sake of seeing it and discussing. -- Stephen Lucas
  • Craig's review C-
    February 28, 2004    The movie is so wrapped up in its violence that it loses Jesus' message of love and inspires only resentment for the people handing out this intolerable punishment; this is a very one-sided interpretation of Jesus' life. -- Craig Younkin
  • Friday Box Office Analysis (2/27)
    February 28, 2004    Backed with a simplistic ad-campaign, Ashley Judd?s new thriller, Twisted, didn?t have quite enough steam to tread off Jesus for opening night, but nevertheless ranked as the biggest new Friday opener?if that says much. -- Lee Tistaert