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164 of 179 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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164 of 179 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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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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even if you're not a believer, 13 May 2011
By 
Ms. Lauren E. Lewis "Laurenlewis7" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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 !!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT FILM, 6 Jun 2010
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This review is from: The Passion Of The Christ [DVD] (DVD)
NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED. THIS IS A HARROWING AND SOMETIMES HORRIFIC ACCOUNT OF JESUS' FINAL HOURS BEFORE HE WAS CRUCIFIED. THE DIALOGUE IS IN ANCIENT ARAMAIC. EVERYONE SHOULD SEE THIS FILM.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life Changing Event, 6 Sep 2004
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.
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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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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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stations of the cross, 15 Sep 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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30 of 35 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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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars where filmmaking cannot be separated from the story, 8 Sep 2004
By 
Joe Sherry (Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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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."
-Joe Sherry
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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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The Passion Of The Christ [DVD]
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