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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Excellent 4 Stars
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Maia Morgenstern
Monica Bellucci.
Directors
Mel Gibson.
Screenwriters
Benedict Fitzgerald
Mel Gibson.
Running Time
0 minutes

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The Passion Of The Christ
Mel Gibson's epic retelling of the last hours of Christ's life


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Plot
A coruscating passage through the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ's life on Earth, amalgamated from the Biblical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In dramatic terms this takes Christ (Caviezel) from Judas' betrayal in the Garden Of Gethsemane to his crucifixion and resurrection.


Review
Stumbling into the light, having just endured Mel Gibson's two-hour pop-profound blitzkrieg on your senses, religious convictions (or lack of them) and prescribed interpretations of the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ, first reactions race and ricochet like a pinball. You may feel anger, revulsion, even queasiness at the stinging stretch of bloody martyrdom; frustration at the film's obvious limitations or indelicate undertones; it may even leave a residue of religious contemplation, a return to questions and confusions that scarcely reach debate in our secular times. When was the last time a film managed any of that? There is no doubting the impact. A post-match lie-down in a darkened room comes highly recommended.

Ripping away years of indoctrinated Sunday School niceties, this is a film born less of Christ's message of love than a torrent of unfettered rage. Gibson's Passion is a downward spiralling journey into darkness and despair on an unprecedented scale. So, be warned, it will test your mettle - not least in its determination to have Aramaic and Latin as the spoken languages, leaving English captions to feed the lines. And amongst such vocal verisimilitude there is only the thinnest veneer of the gospels' eloquence, Christ's sanctified poetry to counter the cruelty into which he is delivered. Caviezel is almost mummified beneath layers of prosthetics, skin flayed red raw like an animal carcass, leaving him more symbol than character. The film functions more as a visual experience than an intellectual or emotional one, the actors almost throttled by the significance of their characters.

Meantime, no-one will go into the movie immune to the peals of disgust hurled in Gibson's direction since he first declared his intentions ù principally accusations of anti-Semitism and Catholic propaganda - and, even objectively, they are not entirely unfounded. For too much of the film there is an emphasis on the events as Jewish crime rather than any preordained sacrifice necessitated by scripture. There is also something half-deranged about its depiction of evil - deformed dwarves, mutilated children and storm clouds bloom daftly at the film's ropier fringes. Even Satan pops up as a hooded cue ball, part Sith, part Dr. Evil.

For a film that is so determinedly putting its emphasis on the 'real', this is camp showmanship at its most redundant. Cinematographer Caleb Deschanel was charged with refining the religious depictions of baroque artist Caravaggio (striking works of morbid iconography) for the screen. It's a tough objective, and the film veers between moody, flame-lit arcana and a burnished, draining whitewash daylight sucked dry of scope; a docu-stark antidote to the dreamy twinkle of Cecil B. De Mille or Pier Pasolini's sculptured renditions.

And here lies undeniable power. This is the most brutal, vivid, sustained depiction of torture ever mounted. It shocks and stuns with unflinching clarity. If Gibson's sole purpose was to concoct a literalist depiction of gospel accounts, then he succeeds. The Bible may simply mention 'scourging', but here we watch in agonised minutiae the flagellation of Christ's torso, a passage of sickening physical degradation. Gibson is determined that the holy notion of the body and blood of Christ are given a very carnal context


Verdict
A tormented movie about torment; loopy, over-reaching and occasionally suspicious. Simultaneously, it is a daring artistic endeavour from a Hollywood star who was driven to put his credibility and lead-weighted beliefs into the court of public and media opinion. It’s as unavoidable as a jack-knifed juggernaut, but saints be praised that cinema can still mount a sally against our culturally moribund and faithless times.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Passion Of The Christ
Empire Star Rating

It was emotional to watch, as a film it was good. Shame it wasn't entirely historically accurate. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dogenegra at 11:48, 07 September 2010 | Report This Post


Violent But A Truely Amazing Film.

The Passion Of The Christ brings a truely amazing story to life within two hours. It shows the final twelve hours of Jesus Christ while also having flashbacks of his time on earth. Yes, the violence is very very brutal so this isn't something to put on for the weak-hearted or children. A emotional movie, one to really check out if you are religious or not. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 14:07, 22 June 2010 | Report This Post


Violent But A Truely Amazing Film.

The Passion Of The Christ brings a truely amazing story to life within two hours. It shows the final twelve hours of Jesus Christ while also having flashbacks of his time on earth. Yes, the violence is very very brutal so this isn't something to put on for the weak-hearted or children. A emotional movie, one to really check out if you are religious or not. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 14:07, 22 June 2010 | Report This Post


Can't deny it....it's a shocker!

As a christian myself, I do find it easy to criticise the film, theologically speaking. However You can't deny it's power to shock! Artistically it's got some great moments, superb use of colours.Anyone who criticises the film's torture scenes, which do hold to a true story, who then go on to rate sick, pointless films like hostel and saw can't really say much. Shame there wasn't any focus on the resurrection. Response to Will Chadwick, if you read the Bible and tried to understand it without ju... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Matthew Field at 22:44, 01 August 2009 | Report This Post


Amazing

The Passion of the Christ is one of the most powerful pieces of art ever to be constructed. The making of this film was a necessity. Im not the most religious person in the world by any means, but I dont think you need to be to appreciate this film. Everyone should see it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by epdug at 23:46, 23 February 2009 | Report This Post


One of the worst films ever

The Passion of the Christ is terrible film. I personally thought it was no more then anti-Semitic gorno. Gibson obsesed with violence, going over the top with it by having slow motion shot focusing on very detail, it wasn't needed. At the same time it showed the Jews in the worst possible little, making out that every Jewish character were sadistic and wanted Jesus to die. They were the worst possible stereotype. The film has a message pretty much saying that the Jews deserved everything they go... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by freemantle_uk at 20:37, 10 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Passion of the Christ

L: Woger see satan mentioned, just a serpent.a program on discovery recently that claimed that previous religions had serpents as gods and the reason that a serpent was mentioned in the genesis story was to diescredit these religions. www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=1&chapter=3&a mp;version=31es pop up in other places also. eawc.evansville.edu/nepage.htmote] Correct. What you cited, was an excerpt from Genesis. You must realise, however,  that each and every ... More

Posted by Incanus at 02:10, 01 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: curtain twitcher Excellent film, much better than Appocalypto! sp; No way, both are equally brilliant. ... More

Posted by Tech_Noir at 10:04, 31 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Passion of the Christ

L: Incanus L: sithlord101 y thing i didnt quite understand were the occasional Roman Catholic references and demon part rt from that it was good to see a film and Mel Gibson not being afraid to show the true story of Christ in all its Glory and Suffering. he Roman Catholic approach to the Gospel is not the only one, naturally, but Gibson is Catholic, so for example he had to stress the part where Jesus names Simon "Petros" (Peter) meaning "the rock" in Greek, upon which he would b... More

Posted by Woger at 01:46, 31 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Passion of the Christ

L: sithlord101 y thing i didnt quite understand were the occasional Roman Catholic references and demon part rt from that it was good to see a film and Mel Gibson not being afraid to show the true story of Christ in all its Glory and Suffering. he Roman Catholic approach to the Gospel is not the only one, naturally, but Gibson is Catholic, so for example he had to stress the part where Jesus names Simon "Petros" (Peter) meaning "the rock" in Greek, upon which he would built his Church. ... More

Posted by Incanus at 01:08, 31 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE:

L: mozzy_gal Truly Amazing! Very well acted and deeply emotional. Very graphic for the right reasons and if you're not christian or at least religious you probably won't understand or agree. A must see for me. l you're partly right in that I'm not religious and I don't agree with or understand what you said!  I'm an atheist, but have read the Bible, and I just found myself angry at this film as it's fundamentally a complete misrepresentation of what the Gospels intended, IMO. &nbs... More

Posted by Dionysus at 11:14, 27 August 2008 | Report This Post


Truly Amazing! Very well acted and deeply emotional. Very graphic for the right reasons and if you're not christian or at least religious you probably won't understand or agree. A must see for me. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mozzy_gal at 22:24, 22 March 2008 | Report This Post


one of the worst and most disturbing films i have ever seen, the occasional good moment there is, but for the most part: it is boring and over the top. An awful movie from an average actor/director!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by plum bob at 09:34, 25 November 2007 | Report This Post


The only praise i can really give is that it stuck to the original material, people from religious backgrounds who complained saying the film was afr to graphic are talking aboslute bollocks, the film depicts the final hours of Jesus's life which to the Christians is not a happy go lucky tale it is dim and gritty and disgusting some people just have to except the bible is the most violent work of fiction ever. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by willchadwick at 17:18, 06 June 2007 | Report This Post


i like the fact that the film is a gritty and brutal depiction of biblical times, but why not make a couple of films about the life of jesus instead of just doing one about his death. i reckon they would be really interesting done in this full on no holds barred style, considering some of the wacky things that jesus got up to in the bible. It'd be part mystical adventure, part moral drama etc etc... could get peter jackson to direct it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by iconzero at 18:47, 18 April 2007 | Report This Post


a brilliantly made and acted movie this is a must see ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by casino at 10:53, 14 April 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Passion of the Christ

I hate braveheart, it is so innacurate,. I hate it when Americans meddle with European history in films, especially Scottish history. Nine times out of ten they fuck it up! ... More

Posted by curtain twitcher at 22:32, 11 April 2007 | Report This Post


Passion of the Christ

This would have to be the most violent film i have ever seen. Though there is much more to the film than its extreme violence. I'm not religious and i never will be but i really was touched by this. The film is very diffrent to Apocalypto and Braveheart but this is a very good thing. The only problem with the film is that its ever so repetetive. Though the film is so moving and compellling you cant help but ignore that minor fault. But be warned its not for the Squeamish. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by solid snake at 22:06, 11 April 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Excellent film, much better than Appocalypto! ... More

Posted by curtain twitcher at 18:46, 11 April 2007 | Report This Post


RE:

L: meh...   masochistic, ugly, pornographic. So totally inhumane that the characters have the dimensions of bible paper. It offers no original insights into who Jesus was, no meaning behind any of the repetitive violence and no view point beyond "if you don't believe in jesus, you'll see what's coming". This film is more about Mel Gibson's biblically-proportioned ego, and less of our good lord himself.     ink it says plenty about who Jesus was. Even viewed from an ath... More

Posted by Axel Foley at 17:49, 11 April 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: krudler one thing that always bothered me about the bible story,judas is seen as the biggest turncoat of all time,yet jesus tells him that he is going to betray him,and if judas hadnt betrayed him,jesus would not have been crucified and died "for our sins",which is what he was supposedly put on the earth to do,so in a way judas by selling him out saved mankinds souls sp; Exactly, without Judas, there'd be no show. You know he went to Heaven, though. ... More

Posted by meh... at 16:20, 09 April 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

one thing that always bothered me about the bible story,judas is seen as the biggest turncoat of all time,yet jesus tells him that he is going to betray him,and if judas hadnt betrayed him,jesus would not have been crucified and died "for our sins",which is what he was supposedly put on the earth to do,so in a way judas by selling him out saved mankinds souls ... More

Posted by krudler at 14:37, 09 April 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: Evessa There is no way he would've had nails through his hands as they would've ripped with his body weight, more likely they would've been through his wrists! n't he also held up with rope? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by meh... at 13:24, 09 April 2007 | Report This Post


RE:

i preferred the book ... More

Posted by krudler at 11:56, 09 April 2007 | Report This Post


RE:

There is no way he would've had nails through his hands as they would've ripped with his body weight, more likely they would've been through his wrists! ... More

Posted by Evessa at 11:55, 09 April 2007 | Report This Post


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