The Passion of the Christ (2004)


Would it be safe to say that the Stations of the Cross was one of the first horror-stories ever told?

If you have never went to school in your life, took a religious course, or still consider yourself an “atheist” (word has totally lost it’s meaning by now, this is the story of Jesus (Jim Caviezel)’ last 12 hours of life. Not only was he betrayed by one of his most beloved followers (that damn Judas), but was also wrongfully-accused, put to death, and forced to be executed in front of everybody that couldn’t get enough bloodshed and gore for a day’s work. But, don’t feel so bad for Jesus, because he’s doing this for all of us, the decisions we make, the sins that we commit, and overall: for our lives.

This may be a surprise for some of you to hear (or see), but this movie caused quite the stir back in the early days of 2004 and with good reason. Not only is it one of the most famous and iconic stories of our day and age, but it’s one that so many people know by now, as well as the what, the who, the where, and the how. However, not everybody gets down to the nitty gritty details of just what sort of pain and agony our dear Jesus had to go through, just so us assholes on Earth could get away with having sex before marriage and robbing that liquor store last week. Don’t play dumb. You know exactly who it is that I’m talking about here.

"You mean to tell me that you want an autograph now?"
“You mean to tell me that you want an autograph now?”

That’s where Mel Gibson shows up, though, and makes us see this story for all that it was, without leaving any certain type of details that may (and definitely did) make Catholics, Jews, Priests, and the Vatican more pissed off than little Jimmy opening his mouth out about how Father McCarthy gave him extra sips of wine in the back of the Church. Then, of course, when you do re-enact a story like this, with all of the blood, the gore, and violence, you have to expect all of those “sacred people” to be up in arms and consider it a sacrilege, all because Jesus actually got his ass beat, before dying a very painful, agonizing death. Just to let you know, The Church; this shit actually did happen, so what the hell is so wrong with some dude showing it in all of it’s fame and glory.?!?!? Probably not the best choice of words, but you get my drift.

Anyway, aside from all of my religious beliefs (I have none, I think they are all just used as a conversation-stater for boring people), the movie still paints a portrait of Jesus and the Stations of the Cross, and not in the happiest-way either. However, that’s the point of the story and for that, I have to give Mel Gibson mucho credit for not backing down and allowing people to take away his image of what happened to Jesus during his last twelve hours. Everything we see, hear, and feel, is not pretty, but then again; what the hell do you really think Jesus went through when he was just doing this all for us and the sins we would definitely commit!?? Did you think they just handed him the cross and a fork-lift to get up on top of that hill, glue him to it, and just let him sit up there for a little while?!? Hell to the no!

What they did do was savagely beat the shit out of him, whip him until he was just about bones on the ground, and never let up, even when he couldn’t physically carry the cross no more. That is definitely not the type of gruesome story we get to hear when our religious-grandparents force us to go to Church, but that’s the story we all know and rarely ever see. That is until, Mel Gibson has a little something to say and absolutely holds no frills, or strings attached. He tells it as if the story most likely happened in real life, and never lets up when it seems like the violence is becoming too much for people. Even though the guy is a fucking nut behind-the-scenes and sometimes in front of, you have to give crazy Mel credit for having a vision in his head, sticking to it, and not allowing any person to stop him from showing it or skewer with it any way at all. In a way, I guess you could say he’s a lot like Jesus where he had a vision and a belief, and never let anybody stop him from telling it or showing it to the people around him.

Too much? Yeah, I kinda thought so. Anyway, moving on……

Although I can give credit where credit is due for Mr. Mel and having the balls to go forward with this story, I can’t give him credit for giving me a movie I want to see ever again. I mean that too: NEVER, EVER AGAIN! It wasn’t just that the blood, the violence, the gore, the torture, and the whipping became too much for me, because actually, by the 4th time actually seeing this, I think I’ve become more numb than ever before. But it wasn’t that, it was just that after all of this time the story still did nothing for me. It isn’t because I’m an atheist (I guess I am. I don’t know, and I don’t care, really), and it isn’t because I haven’t gone to Church in almost a year and counting, and it sure as hell isn’t because I usually cheated on every single one of religion tests they threw in front of me (loved sitting next to Lauren Baker 4th-8th grade), but it was just because the story and Gibson’s approach doesn’t offer us anything new, original, or thoughtful that we haven’t already heard or seen before.

"Judas, you're a fucking prick. Just wanted to let you know."
“Judas, you’re a fucking prick. Just wanted to let you know.”

We know exactly what happens in this story, and therefore, we expect to not get any surprises and in return; there aren’t any. The only type of surprises there could have been with this story was what Mel had to say about it, and we never get that. Instead, we just see Jesus get tortured, beaten within an inch of his life, his mommy crying, his followers act like pussies and back-stabbers, and at the end of the day, dying in total agony, discomfort, and excruciating pain. And oh, by the way, it’s all for 2 hours and 6 minutes which wouldn’t seem that bad if the movie continued to move along, but it doesn’t. It just keeps on getting slow, melodramatic, and a bit too obvious for it’s own good. I don’t know whether or not this is how the original story was framed (highly doubt it was), but something, somewhere, within Gibson’s direction was just not cooking well and just made this flick seem like it had to be seen, to be believed. That’s all fine and dandy, but don’t promise me boobs, when all I get is legs. That’s all I have to say about that.

As for the actors and actresses of this movie, they all do fine but most of their jobs are hard to pull-off considering all that they have to do is speak in a dead language, emote really hard, and pull off some nasty emotions. Overall, they all do fine but I can’t really say that anyone in particular is a revelation  considering it’s mostly ordinary the same stuff around. Jim Caviezel is good as Jesus Christ because he is able to look as if he was near-beaten to death, pull it off without over-acting too much, and just seeming like a Saint-like creature, sort of like Jesus. This guy’s a good actor in most of the stuff he does, which is a shame because he will always and forever be remembered as “the guy who played Jesus in that one movie directed by that anti-Semite, Mel Gibson”. It’s a sad reality, but it’s the truth. Poor guy. And I’m talking about Jim, not that dick head named Mel.

Consensus: Passion of the Christ is the story we all know from the heart, feel the agony of, and in ways, learn something new from each and every time we hear it, but not this time. Nope, Mel Gibson has a the credit for at least achieving his vision and not backing down, but when it comes to giving us a movie that is worth watching for the whole sake of being enjoyed, learning something from, or being emotionally-driven; he does not succeed. Maybe that last aspect may work, all depending on how Holy that person is, but for yours truly: it didn’t much for me at all.

5.5 / 10 = Rental!!

Think of this while you're on your egg hunts.
Think of this while you’re on your egg hunts and have a Happy Easter.
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22 comments

  1. I would more recommend “The Passion of the Jew” as it reveals exactly what kind of a nutjob Mel Gibson is… KWA-PLA!!!!

  2. I’ve never seen this movie, believe it or not. Then again, I haven’t seen the Harlem Shake either-which is fine with me. I don’t like doing what the rest of the world does sometimes. Being a rebel! Anyways, it appears to have a lot of gore and blood by that one picture you posted and some of the clips I’ve seen. I think blood and gore has a place such as shows like The Walking Dead (which I love btw). Wasn’t the movie also in a different language too? What do you think Mel should have done to make it more appealing for you? Just curious… 😀 Nice review!!

    • Nice to see a fellow rebel in work. I wish he just added more meaning to the story, rather than just going through the motions of what we already know, and deciding to just splash blood and gore to liven things up. Didn’t need it one bit. Thanks!

  3. I actually liked this. The graphic nature of the film really iterated a story we all (we think) know. What I felt didn’t work though, was relying too much on the audience knowing what happened. There are scenes in the movie where the context is lost for someone who doesn’t know the details behind the story of Jesus Christ. Many scenes and referances I was left going ‘Oh, is that bad? They’re not down with the Romans?’

    It might be a commentary on my lack of historical / religious knowledge, but I felt a more standalone story not assuming that everyone knew what happened, would have made the movie a lot more appealing to mainstream, non religious audiences. Just my 2 cents.

    • Totally understandable. It’s one of those movies that assumes too much, but my problem is that I knew exactly what they were assuming and didn’t find any surprises present whatsoever.

  4. I am not religious in the slightest so I watched this movie as just a movie and nothing more. I was totally unmoved and uninterested. It’s well made I suppose but lacks anything for a person of no faith to care about. It really is just a guy getting the crap beat out of him (a little too unrealistically in my opinion).

    • I hear ya. I’m not a big follower of the faith either and I feel the same as you. Nothing here that really grabs you other than a bunch of whipping, and more whipping.

  5. Once upon a time, I was a devout Christian like Mel Gibson. Hahah. That was when I saw this movie, and I gave it a B, I think. I declared myself agnostic a few months ago (a lot of my relatives though it was a rash decision, but I’ve stuck with it) and if I were to watch The Passion today, I think I’d be bored. Nice review.

    http://www.themoviefreakblog.com

      • Have you seen Last Temptation of Christ? I’ve been dying to check it out because it’s Scorsese…guess the fact that Scorsese was a devout Catholic doesn’t help my case when my parents recognize him for glamorizing movie violence. 😉

  6. I really wish Mel Gibson didn’t go off the rails like he did, because he is a great filmmaker. I seem to remember the Catholic Church approving this film back in 2004… but perhaps I’m wrong.

  7. Nice review. I really disliked this film, mostly because I felt Mel Gibson made the movie over-the-top violent. I don’t mind violence that much but Gibson took it way too far.

  8. Good review Dan. I am a believer but I have not seen this movie in years. I liked it but Mel could have toned WAY down on the gore and brutality.

  9. Mel could have TONED DOWN the violence? He did tone it down. He said it could have been much worse. It was said that Jesus was beaten so bad you literally could not recognize him. In the film Jesus was recognizable – barely, but nonetheless still recognizable. Point being, it could have been even worse.

    I think Dan, and anyone who shares his sentiments need to think about what they’re watching before watching it. Dan was disappointed b/c there wasn’t a twist ending? LOL. You already knew the story? Of course we know the story!

    And then you say there was nothing in this movie that you hadn’t already seen? So, you have seen this same type of honest brutality in other films about Jesus? So, there was nothing new here? Nothing? Don’t be so clouted by your own cynicism. There have been no other films executed this way. You don’t like it? Fair enough. But to imply it’s cliche and has been done countless times before, etc. is factually inaccurate.

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