Movie Review – the Passion of the Christ (2004)

In this holiest of seasons, it is fitting that a film recalling the Passion of Christ has been made available to us by Mel Gibson. The violent scenes of Christ’s passion and crucifixion may be too graphic for some to view. The film depicts the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus beginning with the Agony in the Garden and ending with His Resurrection. English subtitles are used as the story is told entirely in the Aramaic language. With the exception of Jim Caviezel as Jesus Christ, none of the actors in the film are known to the American public. I found to watch that movie on new streaming site 123movies.

The film has been criticized by many reviewers, as the flogging and beating of Christ by the soldiers is terribly excessive. Critic Roger Ebert states that it is unsuitable for younger viewers because of the violence and sadism depicted. He denies that it is anti-semitic which is another criticism that the film has received. Click here for Roger Ebert’s review of the film in which he states “This is the most violent film I have ever seen.”

Mel Gibson had his reasons for using English sub-titles for this epic film. The use is highly effective as the viewer is transported back to that time when Aramaic was the common language. If English were used, it would seem out-of-place.

Great care has been taken with the costumes, those of the Roman soldiers, the high priests, the women of the era, and of Jesus Christ himself. This effect, in addition to the landscape scenes of the area, lends a realistic touch to this fine film. The scenes are filmed mostly in a sepia tone which is another deliberate attempt to reflect the desert topography in that part of the world.

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The majority of persons in the world are aware of the life of Jesus Christ. Much of his life has been portrayed many times on film. However, this concentration on the last 12 hours of his life has a certain poignancy because we are so familiar with the incidents in the earlier life of Christ.

You may want to view this film as part of your Lenten practice this year. It is a thought-provoking, honest portrayal of Jesus Christ who was considered a radical in his time for his doctrine of love, his siding with the poor, his respect for women, his friendship with sinners, all in opposition to the tenor of the establishment of the time.