The Passion of the Christ

[This item was originally posted to The Media Drop]

I’m sure all of you haven’t come here to get your “hot” movie reviews and commentary, but that’s okay. I just thought it would be a good addition to the site to keep things fresh and full of variety.

Tonight we went to see Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ at our local multiplex. I purchased my tickets last night for a showing this evening, as they were all sold out early yesterday for last night’s shows. Thought that was an interesting sign. WFAN‘s Mike Francesa, one half of the “Mike and the Mad Dog” drive-time show, gave his commentary on the whole movie experience he had over the weekend, and I’d have to say mine was somewhat similar. I went to Catholic elementary school, so I’m pretty much familiar with the areas of the Bible covered in the film, and was able to go into the movie just expecting to see the passages as they are interpreted by some – and I wasn’t disappointed at all.

As filmmaking goes, this was definitely top shelf. The actors were fantastic, the use of subtitles was not bothersome at all, even adding some integrity to the film, and the images shown were nothing less than powerful. A lot of the discourse floating around recently in the news and on the ‘net is about blame. The movie had nothing to do with blaming anyone for anything. Fault isn’t an issue. You can look at this movie from two perspectives: First off, think of it as Mr. Gibson’s portrayal of how he believed the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life went. The thoughts to the past he might have had, the pain he went through, and the effect he had on the people around him. Go in objective, and you’ll come out objective. Don’t go looking for things that your friend might have told you was there, or that you heard on television. Just watch the film and form your own opinion. Reviews are great – but they’re just reviews. Like this. If you find salient points in what I’m writing, then that’s great. If not, c’est la vie.

The second way to look at this is to view this film if you weren’t necessarily a Christian or Catholic, more specifically. If you were Jewish, Muslim, Taoist, whatever – and you watched this movie, perhaps it would give you reason to see why Christians can be so dedicated to their beliefs, just as you might be with yours. Think of it as an expression for the purpose of greater understanding. Religious or not. Don’t go looking for how Gibson portrayed the Jewish leaders of putting Jesus to death. Don’t fault the Romans for the scourging and relentless beatings. That’s not the point. You’re supposed to see someone who had the ultimate faith in himself and what he believed in give everything up for those beliefs – the same way you might do so for a family member or spouse. I don’t mean to sound base about it, but stepping down to a different denominator sometimes makes things a little easier to grasp.

I have to say that I’ve never been to a film where no one said anything on the way out of the theatre. I’ve never seen such a varying degree of emotion – from outright tears to shock and awe to utter fascination – caused by a movie. And I’ve seen a whole lotta movies.

I thought people were kidding when they said shows were selling out at all timeslots since last Wednesday. They weren’t. Sometimes you go to a movie and it’s a lot of young people or older people or folks in a majority from any various ethnic background. My wife pointed out on the way out that she had heard you would see people from all walks of life there – and she heard Russian, English, Spanish, and Chinese all being spoken in the theatre. As films go, it definitely gets a thumbs up from me. Fantastic adaptation, or better yet, almost to the letter placement of written word into something to be seen. Whether you are “grossed out” by blood and violence or not, I think you can get something out of this film, it’s just that well done.

[update] Cobb comments on the film, with some terrific thoughts and explanations which I didn’t even come close to.

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