The Passion of the Christ

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Dan, Feb 27, 2004.

  1. Dan
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    Dan Senior Member

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    I hate to say it, but I didn't care for execution of this movie at all. And, yes, I realize it's not the sort of movie you're supposed to ENJOY, but I just can't think of any reason for people to see it at all. I thought the idea of focusing almost exclusively on the torture Christ went through was a bit voyeuristic. I would've preferred Gibson put out a good movie about the life of Christ, rather than the death, because the guy has skills as a writer/director, without doubt. But, this is the story he wanted to tell.

    I will say that it is a very compelling movie. Even if you have no belief in Christ as the son of God, the movie does a great job of making him sympathetic as a person, not just a symbol. The film opens with a really moving scene that occurs just before his capture in which we see Christ as understanding what he must do, but still scared and begging God to not make him go through with it. A lot of the movie also focuses on Mary, simply as a mother watching her only son tortured and murdered. In one heartbreaking scene, Jesus collapses beneath the weight of his crucifix and Mary, looking on, flashes back to Jesus, as a small boy, falling and scraping his knee. She wants to comfort him like she did back then, but knows she can't. I won't lie that I cried pretty hard at this scene and a few others.

    One major problem with the film is that it requires a pretty good knowledge of the life of Christ and the nature of what happened that led up to his death.

    Now, for the major 3 things people are discussing with this movie...

    The violence. Unbelievable, just disturbing beyond words. This is the only movie I've ever seen that actually made me sick to my stomach at one point. The movie is about the violence, in a way, the purpose of the movie is to show the pains that Christ went through in detail, and it most definitely does that. There were many scenes where I said to myself 'well, at least it won't get worse than this', only to have the scene continue for another fifteen minutes. This is, without a doubt, the most violent movie I've ever seen. In all honesty, without going into too much detail, some of it seemed a little gratuitous and unnecessary, but they may well be historically accurate, which is what this movie was going for, I guess. If you are at all squeamish, do not watch this!!!!!

    The anti-Semitism. This was a total crock. I think it's safe to say that most people would accept that Christ at least existed, and that the details of his persecution and death in the Bible are accurate. The so-called anti-Semitism in the movie derives from the Temple guards capturing Jesus, and the head Priests demand he be put to death for claiming to be the Messiah. Thing is, I'm pretty certain this is historically accurate. Claiming this movie is anti-Semetic is like saying Glory was anti-Yankee or something. Obviously, if you want to see anti-Semitism, you'll find it, but if you want to see anything in any artform bad enough, you'll find it eventually. Very dumb, I think.

    As far as it being a 'fairy tale' or something, I addressed that above. Much like 'Last Temptation of Christ', this movie attempts to show Christ as more human than Holy Spirit and succeeds in this. There are maybe two instances that show Christ as anything more than a man.

    So, I don't know what to think about it. In the end, I was moved by what Christ went through as a man, but this didn't really affect me in a spiritual way. I couldn't imagine anyone changing religions as a result of this movie, and it certainly wasn't entertaining, so I'm kind of at a loss for what its purpose was.

    Anyone else seen it? I'd really like to discuss this movie.
     
  2. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    Great review, Dan!

    I haven't seen it yet so I can't really comment. Here's an article I read by David Limbaugh that gives a good explanation.

    David Limbaugh
    Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004

    Unfortunately, so much attention has been directed toward unfair allegations about Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" that the real message of the work could be obscured in the process.

    That Jews have been persecuted like no other people in history is a truism. That anti-Semitism is a malignant force that continues into the modern age is also undeniable. To the extent that Christians have participated in Jewish persecution historically is indefensible. But authentic Christianity unreservedly decries and condemns anti-Semitism.

    Christianity calls Christians to love Jews, not to harbor enmity toward them. If God selected the Jews as His chosen people - and He did - who are we, as Christians, not to be in awe of that? How could we disrespect the very people to whom God entrusted the law and from whom the Messiah Himself descended?

    People sometimes talk about the differences in the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. But Christianity teaches that the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. God may have revealed Himself to us in progressive stages, but He is eternal and unchangeable. If God is a triune God, He was always a triune God.

    Some people seem to misapprehend the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, as if there is some insuperable dichotomy between the two. But Christ said that He came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.

    The Bible doesn't begin with the New Testament. It is an integrated document from Genesis through Revelation. Virtually every page of the Old Testament points to the New. Old Testament prophecies inform the New Testament, and the New Testament validates the Old.

    In fact, it was primarily the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament that finally opened this skeptic's eyes to the truth of Christianity. I was deeply moved when first exposed to the intricate details about Christ's life and death foretold in the Old Testament. For me, the Old Testament is a roadmap to the cross.

    Mel Gibson says that his meditations on Christ's passion led to his own redemption, rescuing him from his personal demons. I am convinced his purpose for the movie is to share the "good news" about this redemptive power with everyone.

    Thus, "The Passion" is not about assessing blame; it is not about casting aspersions on anyone or any group of people. It is not about inflaming negative sentiments; it is not about stoking a revenge mentality. It is about forgiveness.

    As Christians we dare not dwell on who physically killed Christ or who caused Him to be killed. No matter who issued the order for His execution or who argued for it, all human beings since the beginning of time are culpable - as Gibson has poignantly observed. If we were not sinners, Christ's sacrificial death would have been unnecessary.

    To focus on the identity of those participating directly or indirectly in the crucifixion is to miss the central point that Christ Himself, in His sovereignty, made the decision, along with the Father, to die. Christ said, "I am the good shepherd.

    The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." His whole purpose in taking human form was to live a sinless life and die a sacrificial death in order to expiate man's sin by reconciling God's perfect justice with His abundant love and mercy.

    Christ's death was preordained long before the first human being was created, and there was nothing any human being could do to change it - a fact for which we must be eternally grateful - and we are guilty of base human pride if we think otherwise.

    As Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote, "Every other person who ever came into this world came into it to live. (Christ) came into it to die ... the Cross was there from the beginning, and it cast its shadow backward to His birth."

    If any Christians do blame a particular group for Christ's death, they are woefully misguided. Mel Gibson is not among the misguided. His mission is not to arouse our passions against those who had a hand in Christ's death at that precise moment in history that it occurred, but to ignite our passions for Jesus for all time.

    Bishop Sheen reminds us that "The story of every human life begins with birth and ends with death. In the Person of Christ, however, it was his death that was first and His life that was last." "The Passion" directs us to Christ's death so that we might understand the meaning of His life -- and ours.


    http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/2/24/93228.shtml
     
  3. janeeng
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    Seems everyone has their opinions on this movie, but I do want to see it.
     
  4. Dan
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    Dan Senior Member

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    That was a good article, Jim, lots to think about in there.

    I guess maybe just because it didn't really affect me in a spiritual way, I maybe assumed it wouldn't for anyone. In the end, I felt terribly sorry for Jesus and was just left wondering why God felt he had to put his son through this, wasn't there some other way to show us all that we were sinners?
     
  5. Jackass
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    It wasnt to SHOW us that we were sinners. It was to give us eternal life and forgiveness.
     
  6. deciophobic
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    at one point doesn't he get tossed over the side of a bridge changed at the wrists? whats with that?
     
  7. Dan
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    Dan Senior Member

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    Yeah, that happens very early in the movie, but he also has a chain around his neck. Basically the Temple guards were beating him and he collapsed from pain and fell off the side of the bridge. The violence gets far worse from there.

    I don't understand this concept. By His dying, Heaven was created, or was this the first time humans were allowed in? What about everyone that died beore that? And, forgiveness by who? If it's from God, why couldn't he just forgive us? This is all very confusing to me, please help me out.
     
  8. winston churchi
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    I did this movie last night. I thought it was a well written and well directed film. I thought the director did a wonderfull job on adding flashbacks such as the Last Supper in the film.

    The acting was superb. Much of it was the intense expressions of the charectors which is something that lacks in many overpaid and over rated actors. These actors had few lines but conveyed messages of what was going on inside of them through their intense expressions.

    Judas for one. Few lines but what a fantastic job acting out the greed for the silver, the intense guilt for his betrayal and the self hatred that led to suicide. This actor portrayed that beautifully. As of course did the lead himself. The actor (Jim) who portrayed the Christ did a wonderfull job expressing great pain and tremendous fear of his destiny.

    Yes it is violent but no more violent that one would see watching a flick such as Freddy Kruger or Friday the 13th or Scream or any other Hollywood Horror movie. What made this more intense and upsetting to viewers was the fact that this story, unlike the horrors, is a true one.

    Well acted. Well directed and well scripted. Musical score was well fitting to the scenes and sound effects, exemplifying simple things such as water droping was fantasticly done.

    I would advise people to not take the word of the critics and many of them have admitted to not even seeing the film. While on the subject of critics, one news station stated that some of the critics were retracting their negative statements about the film. This newsperson went down the list of all the critics who had retracted their statement - what does that say about critcs?
    They apparently say what they feel is most popular.

    The Passion of the Christ is a great movie.
     
  9. montyfowler
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    My wife and I went to the first showing Wednesday morning at our local theater. The film was pretty much what I expected, especially after seeing and hearing so much about it.

    It was the most brutal thing I have ever seen. The suffering our Lord endured on our behalf was beyond anything I had ever imagined in my Catholic-trained mind. Even since becoming a Lutheran and reading Luther's Confessions and Catechisms and gaining a greater appreciation and understanding of redemption through His attoning sacrifice...it was still so powerful.

    I will admit that I thought Pontius Pilate was given a somewhat lite treatment in this film. Gibson left no doubt as to his complicity in the death of Christ, but he was treated in an almost sympathetic way. I think this was more an expression of how Gibson sees Pilate in his minds eye, rather than some agenda bleeding through.

    The Sanhedrin and Sadducees were portrayed accurately, and their words were almost verbatim from the four Gospels. The Jewish mob that was gathered at the urging of the Temple leaders was at first bloodthirsty, but in the end weeping at the bloodied, broken man carrying his cross up the hill to Golgotha. I did not find even an iota of antisemitic innuendo in this film.

    If anyone came away thinking the Jews or the Romans or Caiaphus or Pilate killed Christ -- then they missed the entire theme and point of the film. We...meaning all of us and every man and woman born on this earth since Adam and Eve...we collectively killed Christ by our rebellion against God and our inability to turn from sin.

    Christs' death was not a consequence of some action taken or left undone, it was not a decision made by a man. It was ordained from the creation of the universe, before all things. Christ was born to die for our sins...it was His reason for coming into the flesh and walking among us for a short time. By the example of His sinless life, He showed us a better way to live...and by His attoning death on the cross, he gave a way, the only way, to come once again into the presence of the Father and have the eternal life that we were meant for.

    It is my solemn prayer that every person see this film
     
  10. wonderwench
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    I haven't seen the movie yet - but plan to soon.

    I find the reviews and press coverage to be quite fascinating. The Hollywood establishment has a bag of mixed emotiuons about Mel: envy, admiration, and fear of his economic power.

    The film will have grossed in excess of $100M in its first few days - so despite the sniffing of the chattering classes, the movie going public is quite enthusiastic. We saw a similar reaction to Braveheart a few years ago. And like that movie, Mel will not receive a best director nomination for this one - that will be the Academy's way of getting even.
     

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