Then it proceeds to bring in more than $125
million in its first five days, shattering records for a Wednesday
off-season opening and for both a two-day and a five-day period,
according to recent reports, bringing in more money than any
other movie released midweek. So was all the hubbub just hype,
or does the film have some serious flaws or raise some issues
that viewers need to know about?
The Passion is the story of the last hours of Jesus Christ,
from His torment in the Garden of Gethsemane to His crucifixion.
illustrated the tremendous torture inflicted upon Him in His
final hours. It was brutal. It was bloody. It was demoniacally
cruel. It was a worthy sacrifice to redeem all the sins of the
world since Adam and Eve.
Many were horrified by the violence, but by today’s standards,
Freddy Kruger or Michael Myers would be yawning in boredom.
What gives this movie its emotional power is the fact that
Jesus Christ is a strong personal presence in many people’s lives.
Passion gives his suffering such immediacy that watching it is
like watching a beloved family member tortured right before our
eyes. The film makes us realize that as Jesus sacrificed Himself
for all of mankind, then the actual pain and agony of that sacrifice
was of universal magnitude. The Passion personalizes the crucifixion
of Christ for millions of people.
The film itself was masterfully created. Gibson’s use of
lighting for mood and effect evoked and reinforced strong emotional
responses from the audience. The scene composition (mis en scene),
musical composition, segways of scene and sound, flashbacks,
and the fact that the entire dialogue is Arabic— all add
to the films power and mastery of its subject.
Gibson used the flashback technique to connect, to make relevant,
the teachings of Jesus to the agony of his suffering and to the
emotional reactions of his disciples and other witnesses to that
agony. Each transition added to our horror at the brutality of
The scourging of Christ lasted 10 minutes. It was the most
horrific part of the entire movie, yet those in the audience
turn their eyes away from the screen. The audience was compelled
to follow each stroke. The Romans doing the whipping seemed to
relish their job. Encouraged to greater efforts by the cheering
and jeering of an equally cruel crowd, inspired to superhuman
amorality by the silent figure of Temptation who appeared throughout
the movie, they ceased to be human and became icons of cruelty
Try sitting for one minute, watching the clock, seeing how
endlessly long a single minute can seem. Multiply that by
10 and add cruelty,
brutality, and sorrow to it.
Mary, Jesus’ mother, and the unnamed harlot whom Jesus
saved from being stoned, were significant characters in the movie.
At particularly brutal moments, the scene shift to show Mary’s
somber face, and our horror increases incrementally as we see
and feel her pain by the look in her eyes. Sorrow is added to
horror, yet we also sense her inner strength and sense of purpose.
As a photographer and an artist myself, I greatly appreciated
of the beauty and artistry of the movie. Each scene was obviously
well thought out and filmed with painstaking detail. The costumes
and makeup were so well done that the audience does not even
think about them. They seem natural. The music masterfully
built and compounded emotions.
Whether Jesus is a big part of your life or not, The Passion
of the Christ is a must see.