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177 of 193 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars immensely powerful, but not flawless...
Bloody and controversial, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ isn't exactly what one would expect of a Biblical drama, but his deeply personal and profoundly moving film is certainly epic both visually and emotionally. Using "passion" in the original sense of suffering Gibson does not let his audience off lightly with his horrifically realistic depictions of Christ's...
Published on 7 Aug. 2004 by Priyan Meewella

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A warning about the subtitles
I purchased the 2-disc Director's Edition on eBay, barcode: 5039036030816, cover without the grey border, just a full-size image. No reason to believe it's not a genuine copy.
For some reason the English subtitles on the theatrical version are always in Hard-of-Hearing mode; that is, I get descriptive text as well as speech, eg. "#Sombre music plays#" or "Cock...
Published on 23 Jun. 2009 by Miskatonic


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177 of 193 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars immensely powerful, but not flawless..., 7 Aug. 2004
By 
Priyan Meewella "Phoenix" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Passion of the Christ [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Bloody and controversial, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ isn't exactly what one would expect of a Biblical drama, but his deeply personal and profoundly moving film is certainly epic both visually and emotionally. Using "passion" in the original sense of suffering Gibson does not let his audience off lightly with his horrifically realistic depictions of Christ's torment.
The story should be familiar to viewers, following the last few hours of Jesus' [Jim Caviezel] life on Earth. Beginning with His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, we witness Jesus' betrayal by His own disciple, arrest and trial by Caiaphas [Mattia Sbragia] and the Jewish leaders, subsequent investigation by Roman governer Pontius Pilate [Hristo Shopov], violent scourging and finally His crucifixation and death. Interspersed are flashbacks to moments from his earlier life and ministry.
Undoubtedly everyone who sees The Passion will take home their own haunting images, and most shocking of all is the flogging sequence. In part this is due to the fact it is often overlooked in favour of the crucifixation, whereas in fact it is far more brutal. With terrifying realism we watch as Caviezel's Christ is beaten and then whipped till His skin is torn and His back is a shredded pulp. It comes as something of a relief then that Jesus wears a tunic while carrying the Cross, else being forced to look at His ripped and ruined flesh for that length of time may well have become unbearable. Most amazing is Caviezel's astoundingly empathic performance; bowed and broken we can still feel the love in his eyes and the divinity in the way he carries himself. Morganstern and Bellucci are equally magnificent in imbuing their performances with real character behind the floods of tears. Mary is at times more moving to watch than Jesus, painted in a devastatingly tragic light as a mother who is forced to see her son suffer with no way to ease his pain.
Fortunately the accusations of anti-Semitism are unfounded, and really constitute a poor attack from those who were determined not to like the film. While clearly the Jewish leaders are portrayed as the ones who condemned Jesus, this is a film with a cast composed almost entirely of villains. The wickedly laughing Roman soldiers are shown every bit as harshly while they torture Christ. And the good Jews are all clearly evident too, with Mary Magdalene, Luke and of course Jesus' Mother Mary all at the foot of the Cross. In addition there are two of the Sanhedrin who defend Jesus, and Veronica who aids him as he bears his Cross, and the women of Jesus followers weeping as they watch, all given screen time and shown fairly. While Pilate's inner struggle and desire to avoid an uprising is clearly portrayed, Caiaphas is shown as unswerving in his views. While this may seem unfair, it really (if inadvertantly) holds a warning about blindly following a spiritual leader of such unquestioning conviction in any religion.
It must be remembered that The Passion is primarily a visual film as allegedly the director only included subtitles to the fully Aramaic and Latin dialogue as an afterthought; the right decision, certainly, for a film that is already less than accessible. While much of the imagery is very obvious, the occassionaly visual subtleties are nice, such the imprint left on Veronica's Veil which we only see for a few moments in the background of shot, rather than the all-too-easy dramatic close-up. But again the problem is that this expects a detailed knowledge of the story else such things will be wasted. Other images can also be more confusing than evocative. For example, there are some excellent shots of a beautiful androgynous Satan wandering through the crowds but their message seems muddled. At one point his gaze locks with Mary's and the two adversaries seem like opposing equivalents. In another more clouded appearance he holds a grotesquely grinning child, perhaps taunting Jesus as if to say that even he would protect his own child. The lack of clarity may of course simply be an indication that these elements are purely visual additions. Similarly the overuse of the slow motion effect, beginning with Judas catching his money, and then every subsequent dramatic sequence including the numerous occassions on which Jesus collapses, serves to reduce its powerfulness rather than increase it.
Some critics will argue The Passion is flawed in focusing too much on Jesus' final hours with not enough of the man himself or his early life. In truth this focus was an intentional step in order to avoid simply creating another Biblical epic rehashing. The result is infinitely more harrowing but also refreshingly new. Due to the expectation of a working knowledge of events, it is really only Christians who will find this moving rather than slightly disturbing (especially in the modern world of film where we are almost numbed to much violence anyway) because each sting of the whip, each bloody footstep under the heavy burden of the Cross, represents the price of our sin. Yet it is to his credit that Gibson ends the film without dragging on unduly, and manages to offer his audience a final redemptive glimpse of hope in the closing image of Christ as the heroic saviour He is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Passion of the Christ, 7 Feb. 2012
By 
Kevin Barry - See all my reviews
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This film has genuinely touched me. I am not what would be considered a Christian but I do have immense respect for Christ's teachings although in my opinion they have been twisted and convoluted over time. Essentially, what he preached was so simple. Anyway, getting back to Gibson's brilliant piece of work; one word comes to mind - harrowing. Caveziel's performance is heartfelt and genius. One of the best pieces of acting I have witnessed, truly. The flogging scene is extremely hard to watch without shedding tears, which I do every time I watch it. Some will say it is excessive but I suspect this was actually how torture was carried out at the time.
Yes, the film is hard going and to some extent quite depressing to watch but inevitably tugs at the heartstrings and makes one contemplate the true meaning of life and Christ's message.
The fact that it is subtitled and in Aramaic only adds to the genuine feel of the film; it certainly does not detract. It is widely known that there has been a degree of anti-semitic criticism surrounding the portayal of the jews' role in Christ's circumastances and fate. However, the depiction of the Romans' treatment of Christ is equally if not more in depth so I think there is a balance there.

All in all, a work of brilliance by Gibson - highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I am innocent of this man's blood. He is your responsibility.", 14 Aug. 2012
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(Some spoilers do follow. I analyse how certain scenes added to the experience. If you want to go into this movie completely blind then I recommend you do not read this review.)

The Passion of the Christ chronicles the arrest, trial, torture and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This film is best known for its graphic portrayal of the torture of Jesus Christ, which has been surrounded in controversy. I found however that I was more surprised by how superbly crafted this film is rather than the level of violence depicted.

From the outset I noticed that this film looked very authentic and I was hooked into the experience. The costumes worn by the Priests were suitably extravagant in comparison to the ragged robes of the crowds. The locations used to film also looked authentic and the amount of people they gathered to fill the streets and courtyards was impressive. In addition all of the dialogue is spoken in either Hebrew or Latin, which I thought to be a great touch and added to the authenticity. However there were certain words used such as `idiot' which came into use much later. I was very impressed with the cinematography as well. Some of the camera angles were brilliant, particularly when Jesus is being forced through the streets, shown from Jesus' perspective.

Flashbacks are strategically placed throughout the movie but don't exist to fill in any backstory but provides juxtaposition to the present scene. For example the scene depicting Jesus being flogged in the streets is interrupted by a scene of Jesus being welcomed in those same streets on Palm Sunday, which highlights how once this man was loved by the people and now he is hated and ridiculed.

I never felt that the film was dragging on; in fact I think that it was over too quickly and they maybe should have devoted an extra 15 minutes to exploring the events from the perspective of the Apostles and Mary, who I thought were very underused. The scene where Peter denies that he knows Jesus three times felt slightly rushed and then Peter isn't seen for the rest of the film. Many of the other Apostles don't appear in the film at all. Likewise Mary doesn't have a major role apart from looking on at Jesus' torture.

The violence in the film drives the movie's point home about how much suffering this man endured. There were some scenes that were honestly shocking and not easy to watch. However I went into this movie prepared to see an obscene amount of violence, based on the controversy surrounding the film, and as a result I wasn't as shocked as I thought I was going to be. In comparison I watched Valhalla Rising, a movie with a similar amount of violence, without any knowledge of the movie and was really horrified by some of scenes. Although I was aware that Jesus forgave the people who condemned it was still shocking to see him forgive them after the amount of violence the movie depicted. This, I feel, is the aim of the movie; to reaffirm that sacrifice he took and his own reaction to that sacrifice by displaying it in a manner that would shock most viewers. Many scenes of violence did shock me and the way that Jesus still forgave those who put him to death was shocking but not so much that it forced me to reassess my own faith, which despite being raised as a Catholic, has dwindled somewhat over the years.

Jim Caviezel looked identical to the Western representation of Jesus and his performance was stellar, whether he played the compassionate teacher or the thrashed and beaten wreck. A scene that I found to be particular surprising occurs in the Garden of Gethsemane. Although Jesus accepted his fate at the hands of the Romans, in the Garden of Gethsemane actually he prays to God to save him from his fate before mustering up the courage to give himself up, which highlighted the humanity of Jesus despite his divinity.

The film also features a disturbing and unique portrayal of Satan played by Rosalinda Celentano. Satan serves as an external tormentor rather than someone who has a direct influence in the proceedings. The "Madonna and Child" scene is a prime example, a scene simply designed to horrify.

Another great scene which really surprised me was one where Judas is tormented by demons before he hangs himself. Not only is it intensely disturbing but Judas is the one Apostle whose reaction to Jesus' arrest is fully explored. Like the "Madonna and Child" scene it is a scene designed to disturb and is one that is not featured in the Bible but is actually found in other religious sources such as works of art, which is another reason why it surprised me.

I was very surprised how Pontius Pilate was portrayed. Pontius Pilate is usually portrayed as the heartless solider that condemned Jesus however he actually asks the crowds for their judgement. He's portrayed as a man who is conflicted about what to do because he is afraid of whom he may anger and as a result leaves Jesus' fate in the hands of the people.

I was very surprised by some of the acting from the Romans. Those who had no speaking roles used great body language, displaying very subtle expressions of horror during Jesus' torture.

I went into this movie expecting to be shocked by the level of violence and emerged from the experience more surprised by the performances, scenes that were not originally in the Bible and generally how well-crafted the movie was, in particular the cinematography and level of authenticity. Although I understood the message of the movie my level of faith remains the same. This is more a reflection of my own character rather than a flaw in how the film presented its message. I'm sure that many people will watch this film and be much more shocked by the level of violence than I was and as a result the film's message will be more pervasive. This is definitely a movie I will watch again and who knows; perhaps my opinion of this film and my own faith will change.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There really would be that much blood!, 22 Mar. 2008
By 
Mrs. K. A. Gee "Kimmy Gee" (Grimsby, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Passion of the Christ [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I watched this film 3 yrs ago, when I was a new Christian, and i cried for a day. I sit here on Easter Saturday still trying to pluck up the courage to watch it again, but not in a disgusted way. This film is about the brutal tourture of my beloved Saviour and to know that he endured this for me makes me hesitate.

I was shocked at the sheer violence of the piece, BUT, this was what is meant by the word scourge. So many films play down the suffering of Christ and i think every believer needs to see this film to really appreiciate what it took to bring you back to God, and every non-believer should see it to be reminded of the horrific things that human beings can do to one another.

I really feel that Mel Gibson has done justice to the horrendous acts that befell Christ, he would have been broken, he would have had his flesh torn from his body,(the reason i hesitate, also) and yes, there really would have been that much blood!

And my heart goes also to Jim Caviezal. I saw an interview with him recently and he told of how in that scourging scene, he dislocated his shoulder, and with every step with that cross on his back, his shoulder moved again. So those cries of agony are real!

A truly moving, graphic, real depiction of the much glossed over part of Jesus' sacrifice for you and I, that we may live. See this film.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A warning about the subtitles, 23 Jun. 2009
I purchased the 2-disc Director's Edition on eBay, barcode: 5039036030816, cover without the grey border, just a full-size image. No reason to believe it's not a genuine copy.
For some reason the English subtitles on the theatrical version are always in Hard-of-Hearing mode; that is, I get descriptive text as well as speech, eg. "#Sombre music plays#" or "Cock crows". There are two English-language subtitles on this disc, and they both do the same. This is not Closed Captioning, I've double-checked.
Personally, I found it distracting--you may too.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Film!!!, 1 Aug. 2008
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First of all, I am not religious, at all, but it didn't stop The Passion of The Christ from having an extremely powerful effect on me. It is very moving, and can teach you a lot about yourself...and other people, who unfortunately "know not what they do" if you know what I mean. For me, The Passion of The Christ's main messages that came across on screen were:

1- people say/do bad things, and worst, and either aren't able to comprehend the affect that their actions have on others, or just ignore it because they do know, but still aren't able to stop themselves from inflicting pain onto others.

2- when someone says/does something bad to you, you should accept that some people just can't help themselves, and you should try hard to treat everyone as well as you can, regardless of how they treat you.

I also feel compelled to point out that the atrocities against Jesus in The Pssion of The Christ are in fact instigated by the religious parties (make of that what you want). Also, I understand why the violence in the film does not sit well with some people, but I believe that it is neccesary to show the true strength of Jesus' character. Make no mistake, the violence is awful, but reality is not sensored, so to sensor the violence in The Passion of The Christ is to 'close your eyes', and only serves to water down the viewing experience and weaken Mel Gibson's intended message. So watch the original theatrical version instead of the new cut (unless you are extremely sensitive to violence).

Anyway, this is how The Passion of The Christ left me feeling (roughly), along with "that was a brilliant and powerful film that everybody should see". So I will now stop my rambling and finish by saying that The Passion of the Christ is one of the most important films I have ever seen, and you should give it a go, even if you don't like subtitled films. The Passion of The Christ is essential viewing!!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly shocking, 23 Feb. 2006
By 
Victoria Collier (King's Lynn, England) - See all my reviews
Yes, this film is shocking and harrowing, but not boring. It reduced me to tears. It powerfully challenges our view of the crucifixion and I believe tells it as it was, as far as is possible. It was an horrific, bloody form of execution. This film was never going to be a pretty sight, but I would recommend it, it might challenge you. However I would not recommend it for children, or those of a particularly sensitive nature
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Painfull, 7 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Passion of the Christ [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I am not religious but wanted to watch this because I thought the idea was good and I simply wanted a good film to watch. It not all bad. I respect and bold move to have it in Latin and Aramaic. It would have felt a bit cheap if it had been in English. It's very well shot and feels very real. The performance I will mention is that Hristo Shopov is very convincing as Pontius Pilate. He remined me a bit of Robert De Nero for some reason.He is very convincing

Now on to the bad. It was just too violent to enjoy. How is watching this poor man getting tortured entertaining? You are not going to want to watch this more that once. If you forget the fact that it's Jesus getting the crap beaten out of him it's basically Saw with a historical twist.

I respect this films ambition but if you forget the religious significance's and just want a good film to watch I couldn't recommend it
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Includes 'Passioin Recut', 31 Mar. 2007
By 
C. Randall - See all my reviews
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Although I appreciated this film when it first came out at the cinemait struck me as a bit excessive in its portrayal of violence. When I heard that a slightly edited version had been made, this was the version I wanted to get. I felt the original film just went that bit too far in the flogging and crcucixion scenes. This 2 disc release includes both the original '18' certicate version and also as a 'Special Feature' the edited (15) version which is 5 minutes shorter. I believe the edited version tells the story just as well and is still violent enough but we are spared the somewhat 'over the top' gore of the original. Passion Recut is an extremely powerful movie that I would encourage people to see without hesitation and I am glad it is now available to English audiences as part of this 2-disc package.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stations of the cross, 15 Sept. 2004
By A Customer
Though American Evangelicals loved this film it only really makes sense if you think of it as the film expression of traditional Catholic devotions - the Stations of the Cross, the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Gibson has presented us with what only makes sense as a kind of Ignatian meditation on the death of Christ. Start from that and it makes perfect sense. That is why the film lacks pace. That is why it seems to dwell on brutality. If the film seems brutal, take a look at some 16th and 17th century crucifixion paintings and imagine them as movies. They only seem acceptable now because time has erased their power to shock.
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The Passion of the Christ [DVD] [2004]
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