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Passion Of The Christ, The (2004)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Passion Of The Christ, The (2004) While not specifically a horror flick, this movie definitely is horrifying and bloody. This is director Mel Gibson's take on the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ, taken from several source materials, including the Gospels themselves.Subtitled and in the language of the time some 2,000 + years ago, this movie transcends time itself and gives you that 'you are there' feeling in the traditions of other historical recountings like 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Schindler's List.' The acting is top notch, especially James Caviezel as Jesus, who says very little while relaying his every emotion through expressions, body gestures, and thought. Yes, you can nearly read his every thought throughout the proceedings, this is an actor who was so well prepared for a role that you can feel his performance resonate from within. Jesus' message is loud and clear in the film: that he is the Savior of the world, dying for anyone's sins who chooses to truly believe in Him. What he goes through is extremely punishing and moving---and difficult to watch. Crowds who do not believe his Word spit on him, flog him, beat, punch, and whip him to a bloody pulp. Then they march him out to a Cross where he is crucified and further ridiculed for claiming to be 'King in the Next Kingdom.' This is a sad tale, one that shows the barbarism of mankind as a whole. To me, the Romans look especially bloodthirsty in their enthusiastic zeal to torture an innocent human being, although as Jesus says in the film, 'those that brought him to that point are even more guilty.' In reality, all people---because of sin---brought Jesus to the sacrificial point of death and resurrection. It was his sole purpose, his sole mission in life.As you can tell, I am one who believes in who Jesus was and is (this movie shows that he did come back from the dead, in a moving epilogue of the resurrection), but many do not. This seems to be the central conflict of the film, not the historical facts of events that did indeed happen. Is Jesus the Messiah...or just a great prophet who showed the world that peace and forgiveness are the way to live? For me, it cannot get any more obvious that He was exactly who he said He was---God in the flesh, atoning the evil in man, giving us the opportunity to believe and be redeemed. Others may disagree. Obviously, you'll have to come to that conclusion yourself---and perhaps this movie will help. Perhaps not.The film is expertly shot and the use of sound and picture are without a doubt on the cutting edge of today's technology, making this an excruciating view. Every breath Jesus takes, every lash inflicted upon him...the viewer can feel this pain along with him. Seeing Jesus struggle with his humanity and dignity the way it's represented here is almost too much to take. There's a point where you get so mad at the Romans inflicting damage on this poor man's body that you just want to scream...but then we must also remember that many of the Romans changed their stance on who Jesus was shortly after assisting in his execution. Not long after, the Roman Catholic Church was born, with Jesus at the center of things! So keeping real history in its context is also necessary to receive the full impact of this film. The same thing can be said for many of the Jewish people who were responsible for Christ's death---they changed their minds after Pentecost and all eleven of his early disciples spreading the Word were Jewish.Another really interesting point hammered home in this movie is Simon Peter rejecting Jesus three times, even though he had been with him for three years as a disciple and seen Jesus' miracles firsthand. This hammers the point home for all of us...how many times have each of us rejected Jesus for our own selfish desires? How many times will we continue to do so? It implies that acceptance can be a very difficult thing, and if even those who were part of his inner circle had trouble, it can be especially difficult thing for us now. This is an opportunity to rethink things if we're unsure. The question begs to offer, though: How many times will we get the opportunity to decide before death comes knocking?Brilliant photography, poetic editing (the scene where Jesus falls while trying to carry his Cross as his mother watches and she has a flashback of her little boy falling in the sand, running to him saying, 'I'm here, ' will bring a tear to the eye of even the most jaded horror fan), haunting music, and passionate storytelling are the highlights of this epic experience---yes, this movie truly evolves out of a simple 'view' into an 'experience' no matter what your beliefs may be. It will truly challenge your thoughts if you look at it with an open mind and soul.The 'Hollywood glamorized' sequences of Satan watching the proceedings enhance the truth...there is no doubt that behind this 'simple criminal' being railroaded within a court of corruption, ultimately being sentenced to death, that there was a much bigger supernatural war going on between God and Satan, with the power of death itself finally being broken through Jesus' sacrifice. (After all, the central subtext at the heart of this story is receiving eternal life through belief, right?) There's a nice touch early on in the film, where Satan appears in the guise of a snake, conceivably the same one that tempted Eve back in the beginning of time...Multi-layered, mega-violent, extremely emotional and powerful are just some of the descriptions I can think of to describe THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. No matter what, you must see this film, because I have not met a single soul (atheist or Christian) who has not been seriously affected by this movie after taking in a view.And that in itself says something special about the material, doesn't it? I would go as far to say that this very well might be the most important movie---and series of historical events---of all time--- that you will ever take into consideration. So go with an open mind, absorb, reflect, and think about it. (This is a rare movie that will stay with you days and weeks after!)Yes, it's that important. So check out THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST as soon as you can...and be prepared. This is a movie that will knock your socks off, send you reeling back, and ultimately looking in the mirror, asking yourself where you stand.It's that impacting. 'Nuff said.
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