173 of 188 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
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
Most Helpful First | Newest First
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars where filmmaking cannot be separated from the story,
This review is from: Passion of the Christ [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
A film by Mel Gibson
"The Passion of the Christ" focuses on the last hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth (Jim Caviezel). The film begins in the Garden of Getheseme where Jesus is betrayed by Judas for thirty pieces of silver. It ends with the crucifixion at Calvary. The bulk of the film is what happens in between Getheseme and Calvary and it focuses on Jesus' suffering. This is what sets "The Passion of the Christ" apart from every other film made about the life of Jesus. Many deal with the life of Christ, and others with his teaching. "The Passion of the Christ" deals with one very short, and particular, period in his life: those last hours, the Passion. The American Heritage Dictionary includes as one of the definitions of "passion" as "The sufferings of Jesus in the period following the Last Supper and including the Crucifixion, as related in the New Testament", and that is exactly what this film is about. This is Mel Gibson showing us what Jesus went through and at times I could almost hear Gibson saying "This. He went through this for us."
While "The Passion of the Christ" is a very brutal movie, and perhaps half of the film features in some way the beating that Jesus took on the way to Calvary, it isn't the violence that has stuck with me after the movie ended. What I found particularly memorable were some of the smaller moments: the flashbacks that showed Jesus with his mother (Maia Morgenstern), Jesus teaching, Jesus with the apostles. Just as memorable, though, were the moments of betrayal: the look between Peter (Francesco De Vito) and Jesus after Peter denied Jesus for the third time, Mary (the mother) and Mary Magdalene (Monica Bellucci) together weeping at the torture Jesus is suffering, and any time we saw Satan (Rosalinda Celentano) moving through the crowd, or tempting Jesus. Lastly, Mel Gibson's handling of the Resurrection was particularly moving. It is a mix between beautiful and simply powerful moments that allow this movie to rise far above what could otherwise be called (and has been) nothing more than two hours of Jesus being beaten.
What makes reviewing this movie a challenge is that it is very difficult to separate the story from the filmmaking. As a Christian, the story is one that is very familiar to me and is also one that I personally believe in. As a reviewer, I have questions about Mel Gibson's storytelling. If I knew nothing about Jesus of Nazareth and was not familiar with the story of Easter Week, would I understand what is happening in "The Passion of the Christ"? The film lets us know that this is a man named Jesus who is being persecuted, that it is the Jewish Pharisees of Jerusalem which have brought charges against Jesus to the Romans, and they feel that he is blaspheming God. For this they wish Jesus to be put to death. What the film does not go into is why. Are these Jewish leaders just blood thirsty? Are they threatened by Jesus' teaching? Is there a serious law that he has, in fact, broken? Why are they pushing so hard for his death? "The Passion of the Christ" does not answer these questions. Someone who does not know the story of Jesus may not know why he is being brutalized to this extent and what promises Jesus' life and death, and resurrection bring.
Viewing the film from my perspective, the lack of that detail being in the film did not affect what I think of it. "The Passion of the Christ" is a bold, moving, powerful film and the fact that the subject of the film is so central to what I believe only makes it more so. I cannot speak to what a non-Christian would feel about "The Passion of the Christ" because an emotional response is so personal and subjective, and that emotional response is exactly what "The Passion of the Christ" taps in to. The combination of how skillfully Mel Gibson has crafted his film (excepting that little issue with exposition) and the emotional response that it encourages, this is arguably one of the best films of the year so far and may very well be a contender for Best Picture come Oscar Season.
The one criticism that I would like to address here is the charge, of some, of anti-Semitism. It is one that I do not understand. At the beginning of the film, when Satan is tempting Jesus, Satan mentions that carrying the full burden of sin is too much for one man. The suggestion is that Jesus (and therefore God) is choosing to do this, and that Jesus knows what is coming. In fact, Jesus says as much in the flashbacks throughout the movie. Moreover, while it is true that it is the Jews who turn Jesus over to the Romans, there were some Jews who spoke up against their leadership saying this was wrong. It was also only in the power of the Romans to condemn Jesus to be crucified and the film shows Pilate symbolically "wash his hands" of the whole affair, which was a cop-out. Pilate made the decision. It is also the Romans who are brutally whipping Jesus as punishment before he is to take up his cross. The implication here is not that the Jews nor the Romans who are specifically guilty, but rather: All are guilty. All. With Gibson's hand being the one that drives the nail into Jesus, he includes himself in the "all."
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life Changing Event,
This review is from: The Passion Of The Christ [VHS]  (VHS Tape)
Though largely told with recourse to distinct elements of Catholic theology, drawing on the richness of the faith, this film appeals first of all to the heart. For any Catholic, the suffering of Jesus is central to understanding one's own throughout the course of life, and all will readily admit that the Passion is glossed over at times, whether by attractive but misleading crosses or generalised classes of catechesis. Mel Gibson's film remorselessly expunges the failures of modern theological thought, which do indeed often seek to skirt around the pain, and once again re-centres the faith upon the meaning of suffering. It comes to us all, and mankind lacks the tools of heart as long as Christ is not understood. This film will help you understand.
There is a great deal of theological imagery which may confuse those without knowledge of the discipline, or perhaps more positively, encourage viewers to investigate personally. The scenes throughout are painful to watch, not for the content of blood alone, but the journey one is taking with Christ. It is a film like no other in that truly can one make a pilgrimage while watching it, and you must be prepared for the emotional exhaustion if devout and devoted. It will grant a new dimension to any ascetic Catholic and those keen to get to the heart of Christianity.
The supposed anti-Semitic bent of the film is non-existent, but one must be careful to define what such a remark is. This film demonises only the action of a group, not the group itself. The ideology of Christ Himself was to condemn the sin, not the sinner. As for guilt, the truthful Christian would claim it for himself more than against any Jew, Muslim or Hindu. It does not condemn anyone but the viewer's conscience, and offers the greatest of hopes too. The Roman soldiers administering the flagellation and execution are very much shown as brutal, cruel and sadistic men, but watch out for that look of conscience is one or two, and of course the Centurion Cornelius who eventually became a saint. Mary is portrayed excellently and in precisely the right way, as often her role is misunderstood by non-Catholics; Maia Morgenstern is magnificent and so, so dignified. Any mother will identify immediately with her, and they will find it particularly hard to watch at times. Jim Caviezel is a beautiful, luminescent Christ - loving, gentle, yet instinctively powerful. His face shows remarkable emotional dexterity, and helps him to play the role in a most inspired way.
It is a story of love in the most noble and harrowing of senses. One cannot, if open to the idea this man lived and died for us all, watch this film without feeling some tug on the heart. It questions you, pains you, tests you and calls you. How it affects the Christian will depend upon their willingness to understand, whereas the casual viewer, interested but non committed, is invited to watch something which may just change their life. The message is clear, the plea heartfelt, the reason for you alone. He is all yours as much as He is all mine.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'AN INTENSE RE-ENACTMENT',
This review is from: The Passion Of The Christ [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
When watching this movie it quickly becomes obvious of the director 'Mel Gibson's' commitment was to give as an authentic as possible version of the final hours leading to the crucifiction of 'Jesus'
The film portrays in graphic detail the 'Roman's' carrying out their policy of purging prior to the crucifixion.
Whatever beliefs you may or may not hold the visual detail will leave a lasting impression on you, the 'Roman's idea of justice was indeed brutal.
not only does the film display 'Mel's' brilliant directorship, it also contains an amazing portrayel of 'Christ' by 'James Caviezel'
The film is not for the faint hearted and should be shown with caution to prospective viewers
A truly remarkable film.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Four star movie, two star DVD,
I have awarded this DVD (the two disc Director's Edition) of this very good film with only two stars because the only English subtitles are for the hard of hearing. This means that annoying phrases like SENTIMENTAL MUSIC PLAYS and JESUS SIGHS keep appearing on the screen if you want subtitles and they are in big letters at the bottom of the image rather than below it.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even if you're not a believer,
This is simply a must have for anyone calling him/herself a Christian. And even if you're not this is simply a brilliant piece of film - superbly acted (Jim Cav is an excellent Christ), fabulously directed and ultimately impactful film you should see and then own.
For me as a Catholic to see the Passion portrayed so wonderfully well and so authentically and truthfully - is just a blessing. I try to watch it every Good Friday. Its very hard to witness our lord die for my sins and so graphically- but it happened and we did it and I think its a great reminder to help keep me on a right path in my walk with the lord.
And as hard as it is for me to watch it - I didnt have to live it....
11/10!!! MUST WATCH !!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Passion of the Christ,
I own Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" and would not give my copy away
(I have not dissected the film critically, only watched it a number of times).
So what's good about it?
1) "The Passion of the Christ" is artistically created. The scenes, the colours, the actors all contribute to making this film a work of art.
2) To me, the casting was excellent. a) I love Mary. She is beautiful but with a ruggedness that betrays suffering, and a hard life (good acting).
b) I am impressed with Jesus. He looks the part, acts well and is believable.
c) The Hebrews priests are convincing.
d) The costumes are impressive.
e) The story carries me with it. I do not get bored, even though I don't grasp what's being said (apart from the subtitles).
3) The spoken languages are Aramaic and Latin. On my version subtitles are available in English. I don't understand those ancient languages, and I think that's the point: a) because I don't comprehend what I hear, my mind is attuned to what I see. I am not reading a book, I am watching a film: as never before.
b) also, I don't have to fight my way past Jesus speaking in Oxford English, or Pilate with an Irish twang. You get my point. I'm not distracted by accents. This draws me even closer into the film.
4) But what of the flogging scene; wasn't that disturbing?
My daughter cried when she saw it. If your feelings are anaesthetized when watching a human being being whipped almost to death, then you're shut off, probably from your own self (either that, or you know how special effects are done these days).
I've watched the extras, so I know how they used silicon prosthetics to portray Christ's flesh etc. Even so, to me that which sums up the evil in that scene is a) the soldiers who find it fun to torture another human, but explicitly b) Satan, who with calm satisfaction, glides through the crowd carrying his own child (the antichrist?). The traditional -Madonna and child- becomes Lucifer (played by a female) and child (played by an adult 'little person'). An unusual touch.
5) Satan. Well cast, well played: so important to the whole story. This film doesn't try to make out that Jesus was a social rebel, a political saviour, i.e. just another human being trying, and failing, to make a difference. Mel Gibson's film portrays Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ of scripture, come from heaven to pay the penalty for our sins. Satan is the root cause of all sin, all rebellion against God, and therefore it is only correct in a film about Christ to include him. He is not portrayed as a goat, a serpent, but as a being outside of human events, but very much influencing them. Spot on.
6) FINALLY: Should you buy this film? The price is at present low, and you get 2 DVDs. If you're into films, then you've probably watched quite a few that ended up in the bin. My copy won't end up there.
Whatever your beliefs (I am not a Roman Catholic, as Mel Gibson), I recommend this film. If you really want to understand who Jesus was, then why not read the Gospel of John. No film can encompass the diversity of the Son of God, but this film is, in my opinion, the best that's ever been done. (I also like the BBC's The Passion, for other reasons).
Enjoy. No. That's not the word. Experience Mel Gibson's vision of The Man of history and eternity: Jesus Christ. The second Adam. "In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God" John 1:1.
Sincerely, Chris Harle.
5.0 out of 5 stars Mel Gibson done a good job!,
the film about The Passion of The Christ is difficult to watch and heartbreaking, but this is how most likely the Saviour's atrocious suffering: physical and spiritual , and resulting Death looked like.It is cruel, it is maybe even exaggerated but for a good cause i believe: to show the world at what price the souls were saved from eternal damnation.He chose to come to this Earth , live and die at very difficult and cruel times, the Crucifixion was gruesome way of punishing, and lets take into account the mentality of people back in those time.Certainly so called 'political correctness' or tolerance had different meaning if at all.Yet i believe Gibson ' s portrayal isnt far from the truth: Jesus was hated at the end so much that people were thirsty for His blood, thirsty to see Him die atrocious death on the cross and they openly celebrated it.What would happen today to Christ if He would choose to live in our times?? He would be most likely shot dead or tortured in a similar way ( minus the cross I guess).
People complain about too much blood, too much cruelty etc...in the film, how about if this Really was happening???blood is red.how would someone look after even short time of heavy beating? torture doesnt take into account order, it is messy and painful.or is it nice and romantic how the majority of people would like to see it.
I recommend this film wholeheartedly but it is strong, it is painful to watch so brace yourself and be all thankful to Christ for taking this upon Himself in order to give us Eternal life
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece deserved several Oscars,
This review is from: The Passion Of The Christ [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I will not write a long review, but this is a great version as has both the tamed down version which can be shown to families, aswell as the unedited version.
It is a brutal film, but it is history and no more brutal than watching modern historical movies which show plenty realistic scenes.
It is a film everyone ought to watch whatever faith or not. It is compelling viewing, and the only other movie which was that intense on the senses was The Exorcist, another masterpiece.
I believe the reason this film was wrongly labelled as anti-semitic is because the subject matter is about Jewish history and a terrible crime. But in reality, Jesus and his followers were all Jews.
It is not hateful to Jews at all, but does show how a handful of elders (not all) within organised religion can try and corrupt things at the top, and misrepresent and not practice the faith properly by example, which is a recurring theme in the history of all religions and institutions, governments, legal systems and industry, where humans, not God, will try and corrupt or will inevitably make errors.
Jesus forgives his accusers and never once calls for revenge but forgives them as he says they do not know what they are doing.
The majority of the people are following and backing Jesus, and disagreed with the corrupt elder's accusations, who basically paid a mob to jeer and make false allegations.
The film doesn't incite any vengeance or blame towards Jews, and to be quite honest, if this film were anti-semitic, It wouldn't have passed Hollywood censors, where many secular Jews are employed.
It would infact have been against the law to make an anti-semitic film which would incite hatred, so to this day i am confused as to why people had claimed it was anti-semitic, or why some claimed it was too violent, when it was in context, and there are plenty films out there which really are gory and noboyd complains about the,. This was an intensely emotional film in reality, and that is why everything seemed too much to handle. But it was because it is a powerful story, and even without the violence, it is still compelling to watch....and not to be missed by atheists and fans of cinema, if just to watch for the power of film.
The Passion story is powerful as it brings a gritty realism to events in the past, with the themes of corruption, betrayal, the power of forgiveness, and not hating, but conquering death and evil.
5.0 out of 5 stars A cinematic experience,
So, here's another review of one of the most controversial films ever. I'll begin saying that as a movie this is great but not perfect. The use of slow motion is not as accurate as in Braveheart (where it added an extra bit of tension before some key moments), some of the acting is not particularly good, and I didn't like the music. But James Caviezel is awesome (it's not acting, it's more like a living portrait) as the Christ, as well as the Devil. The reconstruction of the time in clothing, scenery, and so on, is excellent, and the use of latin and aramaic is bold, as well as effective. The blood and gore are one of the main problems for some people, but hey, what was to be expected? We all know that it was a brutal punishment, a gruesome torture inflicted on many occasions in innocent people, for sure (well, it happens today, doesn't it? Why not years ago?) Some negative reviewers say that they were disgusted with it and say that they don't see the point of depicting it. Well, that was the moment when I decided to write this review. You may or may not be a believer, but no-one in this world should deny that the death of this man in the cross (and that is well documented) was one of the turning points in History. In fact, our account of History is divided in Before Christ and After Christ. The moment when this man died, after terrible sufferings, even wondering why his father had abbandoned him, and then forgiving the men that inflicted such brutal torture on him, well, that should move everyone, no matter what your believes are. This was one of the cinematic experiences of my life, and took me to reflection and wonder some important questions, questions that perhaps wouldn't have been raised if I hadn't watched the movie, like the fate of Judas. I mean, if God knows it all, did He condemn one of His creations on purpose to fulfil His design? I read Paradise Lost, where there the fall of Man is depicted in a similar way. Was it all bound to be? Then Judas should raise as much pity as Jesus himself, since Judas is in Hell (in the ninth and deepest Circle of Dante's Inferno) suffering for what he did to send Jesus to the cross, and save us all. Do I like to believe in a God that condemns one man for all eternity to save the rest of His creations?.
I believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God, I was raised as a Catholic, and although there are lots of issues where I disagree with my church I guess I still can be considered a Catholic. But that has nothing to do with my review, like some of the criticism. Lots of people say that this is not the truth, but Mel Gibson's account of the facts. Well, OF COURSE!!! But since the money spent was his, he has all the right to make the film as he likes. The Lutheran church protested because the scenes with Mary can lead to Mariolatry. All right, then they should film their version, without these annoying scenes (Anyway, those are not precisely the best of the movie), and we all would have another version of the story. Come on, Jason Voorhess (Friday the 13th) has more than 10 films (many of them awful) dedicated to his person, so I'd say that one of the most important turning points in human history deserve as many as we can produce. Especially if they are this intense, this inspiring, even this painful.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal - Disturbing........Masterpiece,
First of all, I have read so much about this film, criticism from both sides, believer and non-believer, that I watched it expecting to be completely confused! As a non-believer myself, I was extremely sceptical about the whole thing, and expected to be totally unmoved by it. How wrong can you be?
I wasn't bothered about the language barrier, and didn't mind the subtitles. After all, we all know the story don't we? I actually think that it was more effective because it was in Aramaic, rather than English. It is just so SAD, so WRONG!! I just can't believe that one man could be treated like that by other men for nothing. I've never really given it any thought at all before watching the film, it never really seemed relevant to me, but all I can say is if that's what happened to God's son, no wonder the world is in the lousy state that it is. - Payback!! It is very graphic, very disturbing, very brutal, but you can't take your eyes off Jesus for one second. Jim Caviezel as Jesus is just incredible- exactly how I think Jesus was. I sobbed my heart out for poor Mary, as a mother myself, I could totally empathise with her. I am not a great Mel Gibson fan, but I think that this film is absolutely brilliant, a modern day masterpiece, not at all entertaining, but totally mesmerising. I don't want to get into the whole religious thing, I'm not qualified to comment, and anyway, I think everyone has their own opinion, and that's fine. However, I have to say, it made me think - a lot.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
The Passion Of The Christ [VHS]  by Mel Gibson (VHS Tape - 2004)