ISSUE #8 FEB 06

Richard Sawyer

Passion Of The Christ, The

2nd April 2004
The Passion of the Christ Poster reviewer: Richard Sawyer
rating: 3 out of 5
directed by: Mel Gibson
written by: Benedict Fitzgerald and Mel Gibson
starring: James Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern, Hristo Jivkov, Francesco De Vito, Monica Bellucci
genre: Drama
released: 26th March 2004

It seemed overly drawn out; the film details only the capture and crucifixion, so to a certain extent this was expected. Take for example the walk with the cross; I think it lasted about 30 mins, and well, got rather boring. Jesus fell down under the pressure and beating from the guards and the local Jewish people... this was obviously included to show the extremities of the situation in the story, however, he fell over so many times, and his getting to his feet was drawn out, by the end you half wanted them to hurry up with the scene.

Aside from the overly long scenes, there was also far too much gore. I mean, I'm a fan of the Jason series, and love a good decapitation, heart removal etc... But here we saw brutality in far too much detail. Creative camera work could have implied the gore, but at every given point, it was shown in immense detail. I actually looked away a couple of times.

The acting was poor on the whole; Monica Bellucci was good as Mary Magdalene. Mary, his mother was somewhat diluted, at points, where she was mopping up his blood and bits of his flesh, she mustered a tear, nothing more. I would have expected more, perhaps some form of traumatised-ness, or something. The characters were all stereotypical, and ill typecast.

The Romans were made out to be weak butchers, eager for blood at most points. The Jewish priests were made to look like evil witch hunters, everyone of them, corrupt and lawless. Baying for blood. I mean there was no remorse shown even at the most horrific of scenes. Which any man would probably have vomited at if they had witnessed.

The Devil was an average attempt at an enigmatic character, with his appearances being more bizarre than sinister, and well, at points slightly laughable. In a film not caring about showing gore and the evil side of man, he looked like the Lord of the flounce.

I'm not going to comment on the believability of the story itself. However, I struggle to see what benefit of the frequency and the extent of the violence and gore. I applaud their attempt to realise a story which has, to many, lost its impetus and impact, however, to me, this seemed more like a propaganda movie. A 21st century crusade. Shocking audiences in this manor alone would have been passable, as would the dragging out of the ordeal or the good vs. evil, black and white portrayal... however all together, this reeks to me.