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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best version yet of this story
This series is not flawless by any means, but it earns top marks from me for being a compelling, grown-up and moving piece of drama of the kind we get only (alas) sporadically from the BBC these days. As a revisit to 'the greatest story ever told' it succeeds in its stated intention to bring the drama of Jesus's last days powerfully to life. I'm not a believer, but this...
Published on 17 Oct 2008 by C. J. Hendry

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Story
It was not what I really wanted I found it a bit away from the true story of the Passion of our Lord.
Published 18 months ago by Miss Eileen Clarke


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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best version yet of this story, 17 Oct 2008
By 
C. J. Hendry - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Passion [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This series is not flawless by any means, but it earns top marks from me for being a compelling, grown-up and moving piece of drama of the kind we get only (alas) sporadically from the BBC these days. As a revisit to 'the greatest story ever told' it succeeds in its stated intention to bring the drama of Jesus's last days powerfully to life. I'm not a believer, but this series found the right mixture between originality and orthodoxy.

One particularly impressive new idea is the way that Judas is presented not just sympathetically (that's scarcely new anyway - Scorcese's Last Temptation of Christ being a notable example) but as a young, naive individual who is torn between two opposing father figures: Jesus, and Caiaphas the high priest. Caiaphas himself - played by the totally convincing Ben Daniels - is not exactly sympathetic, but we can at least understand his reasons for wanting Jesus dead. He is far from the monstrous caricature of Mel Gibson's film, and his complex characterisation is one of the reasons that this series has so much more depth.

Ultimately, the actual Passion itself is more moving too - despite being considerably less gory. If anything, the flogging is underplayed in this version, and the crown of thorns is positively weedy. But the crucifixion sequence is by far the most harrowing I've seen, and for an interesting reason. We really care about Jesus by this time, so we don't have to see every detail of his pain in vivid close-up in order to feel it, and be rightly moved. Penelope Wilton's turn as Mary is particularly powerful, and the script frequently reinvents the famous verses so as to emphasise their actual meaning. I'm sure that would irk some true believers, but as drama it is an excellent idea.

As for Jesus himself, Joseph Mawle does a superb job. His Jesus is clearly a man: one torn by doubts and fears, one who clearly would have preferred a nice quiet life with Mary Magdalene (definite hints of some feelings between them here - tastefully and touchingly done) but above all one whose absolute dedication to his cause leads him inexorably to his terrible death. Coming over very clearly in Mawle's performance is the sense of Jesus's love and compassion for his friends and his persecutors; even for non-believers perhaps the most admirable of his many qualities. Yet if you do believe that Jesus is God's son, the series accommodates that too.

James Nesbitt's (Pilate) accent does jar at first, but it's amazing how quickly one adjusts to it. His performance in the third episode in particular is very powerful.

The series looks like a film: high production values, excellent photography, convincing costumes and locations. It's also beautifully lit, often resembling a Caravaggio painting. I agree with Ian Armer about the music: the orchestral sequences work very well, but the ethnic parts seem like a blatant steal from 'Gladiator' and Peter Gabriel's music for 'The Last Temptation of Christ'.

All in all, this is an adaptation which should impress believers and non-believers alike. After all, the story has, in terms of drama, everything: guilt, betrayal, murder, love, manipulation, transgression, redemption, despair, hope, courage. The BBC could perhaps hardly go wrong with such rich material but it is to their credit that they have made it into one of their best dramas of recent years.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Passionate BBC reply to Mel Gibson, 14 Sep 2009
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This review is from: The Passion [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I love the DVD, especially the Christ. He is indeed human, a very likeable chap whom I'd gladly lend an ear to. A strange twist at the resurrection almost put me off when two other actors played Christ, but when the 'real Christ' then appeared, I understood that this was done to correspond with the Bible account that His followers couldn't identify Him until He revealed Himself.
I rate the 6 DVD's I have on Jesus in this order:
1) The Passion (BBC)
2) The Miracle Maker (model clay, but not only for kids)
3) The Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson)
4) Jesus of Nazareth (Zeffirelli)
5) The Gospel according to St Matthew (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
6) The Greatest Story ever told (George Stevens production)
Of course for the most correct story buy a copy of the Bible and read it. Why not try The Clear Word paraphrase if you can't wade through thees and thous.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Compelling Production, 10 Oct 2008
This review is from: The Passion [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I watched this when it was broadcast on BBC One at Easter earlier this year and was completely entranced. For me it ranks as one of the best pieces of drama that has been produced by the BBC in recent years. Stunning scenery, amazing cinematography and breath-taking performances from Joseph Mawle as Jesus, James Nesbitt as Pontius Pilate and the wonderful Penelope Wiltin as Mary - a near perfect adaptation of one of the greatest stories of our time. Can't wait to get the DVD so that I can watch this again and again.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinarily moving, 25 May 2009
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This review is from: The Passion [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I have seen all of the "Jesus movies" there are to see, and this is by far the most compelling and moving when it comes to portraying his suffering and death, as well as the complexity of the situation that led to it. Unlike Gibson's exaggerated and monotonous slasher flick, the violence done to this Jesus is never allowed to take center stage or to obscure the actual moment-by-moment struggle he must have undergone to keep loving and obeying under increasingly terrifying and agonizing circumstances. Here is a Lord who is truly bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh: weak, vulnerable, afraid and yet strong in all the right ways. Joseph Mawle is magnificent; he's no Hollywood hunk, yet he is manly and atrractive the way that Jesus himself must have been---natural, ordinary, authoritative: someone worth living and dying for. Gibson's grotesque Passion Play left me completely unmoved; the violence wasn't "senseless" as much as it was "nonsense." His Jesus struck me as oddly uninspiring; I couldn't imagine him doing much else besides moaning and groaning. But here Jesus is taken into the darkness of his Passion in the midst of his vital ministry; I could feel the tension and was drawn into the story like never before. As another reviewer has said, we really CARE about this man by the time we see his suffering, and so the Passion scenes are intensely moving without forcing us to drown in a bloodbath. It is pointedly obvious, too, that this Jesus is filled with the Spirit of God and enjoys that unique intimacy with God that Christians recognize as "divinity," without it being the "weird-creepy-alien" stuff of most Jesus movies. There are some incredibly creative scenes that lend new insights; the scene with the prostitutes and the central scene with Mary, his mother, are two examples. Both for me were "wow!" moments. And there are, blessedly, no caricatures or gratuitous grossness. I absolutely loved it and will share it with others. And to think that that this was on TV!!! If you haven't seen it yet, see it soon. It is truly wonderful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, 2 May 2009
By 
Phillip J. Brown (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Passion [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I think this is one of the best repressentations of the Gospel yet.Where this production succeeds and others have failed is on the ressurection. We can't ignore the stories of the ressurection if we look at the historical accounts of who Jesus was and is. A truly great, and honest pressentation of the story of Jesus as written down and handed down to us today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a BBC masterpiece, 10 Sep 2010
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This review is from: The Passion [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Given the subject material and given the countless previous versions of the same, this had to be spectacularly good, and it is !

It is passover week and thousands of pilgrims pour into Jerusalem. For their Roman master, Pontius Pilate (James Nesbitt) and High Priest Caiaphas (Ben Daniels) this is a difficult time of year with heavy pressure to maintain cival order. Rumours start that Jesus (Joseph Mawle) is approaching the city from the east. Is this the coming of the Messiah??

This really is the BBC at its best. A classical piece of historic drama. Super location filming, excellant dramatised story line and barnstorming performances from the three principles.

The scene in which Pilate, Ciaphas and Jesus meet to discuss the latter's fate is unforgettable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!!!, 17 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Passion [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This is one of the best DVDs I own. I watched it originally on tv - and it left a lasting impression. The portrayal of Jesus and the casting of all of the characters is superb! The cast are all perfect in their roles and deliver outstanding performances. This is one of the best programmes the BBC has ever made. It is a must see!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moves me to tears everytime., 7 May 2012
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L. Lee (Dorset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Passion [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I watch this every Easter, it's fantastic acting. The story may not be completely accurate, but it 'feels' so real, like you could be in the film. It brought me to Jesus, thank you Joseph Mawle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Passion, 22 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Passion [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I enjoyed this particular intepretation of Christ's passion, death and resurrection because it, I feel, brought out his humanity more than is usually done with this subject and did not dwell overlong on the violence of the crucifxion.
It also teased out the political machinations between the Jewish leaders and Pilate.
I liked this version of the passion and will watch it often.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Passion (DVD 2008), 18 May 2010
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This review is from: The Passion [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
The film is showstoppingly good. Everything is good in it. And the voice of Kaifas is almost as enjoyable as the voice of James Mason, much too rare delicay.
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The Passion [DVD] [2008]
The Passion [DVD] [2008] by Nigel Stafford-Clark (DVD - 2009)
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