So, Alanna dragged me to the new Mel Gibson movie, “The Passion of Christ”.
The place was packed, but not full to the brim. As always, Megastar 16 at Southdale Mall came through, great picture, great sound.
I hadn’t really heard too much about it prior to the film, other than a few bits on the radio about the worries some people had about it inciting anti-Semitism. I guess it had quite a bit of coverage in the popular press, and I heard from a church-going friend that they had really been talking about it at church, too.
(attempt to be spoiler-free ahead)
I thought, overall, it was very good. It used a combination of the flashbacks and “real-time” to tell the story. While it didn’t use as many flashbacks as, say, “Big Fish”, its use of flashbacks/visions gradually grew as the story went on. This gave you just the right amount of background, mimicking what it would have been like from a mortal’s perspective. (As you lose blood, get tortured, etc, you’re more prone to “visions” as your mind tries to escape the present)
Satan’s roll in the film was worked in very well, too. It made for a great dramatic device to underline the “temptations” Jesus must have felt while he continued on the path he had to follow. I fear that his use might have been missed by some members of the audience, since I heard more than one member complain, “Who was that guy hanging around in the cloak?”
Casting, acting and directing was all done very well, as was the more “technical” arts such as the lighting, photography, sound and visual effects. But nothing was overdone - nothing got in the way of the story being told. Even the subtitles were not a bother, as the authentic languages made it a bit more realistic. (Although, in a few of the more graphic scenes, the subtitles made it difficult to close your eyes and still follow the movie!)
There was a little bit of ruckus about the brutality in the film. In fact, when you bought tickets they warned you of the violence. In my opinion, I think the filmmakers did exactly what they needed to do. They needed to show the great struggles Jesus had to overcome and rise above. I have a feeling you’d see more violence in other movies from Hollywood, and I’m pretty certain that none of them receive the warnings like this one did. Certainly there is torture, but the visuals are no more upsetting than those shown on CSI during prime time.
In summary, this is a good movie. Not the greatest movie I’ve ever seen, but the perspective the filmmakers took was interesting in that you got to see what was going on around Jesus, not just things from his point of view. Very entertaining.