The Passion of the Christ

A Film Review By The Mike

Rating:RATED R for brutal violence and gore
Starring: Jim Caviezel, Monica Bellucci
Directed By: Mel Gibson

Final Grade:


What can I say about The Passion of the Christ that can do both it and the film community justice? This movie is the event of the year so far, possibly the event of the last decade, and here I sit, a 22 year old in the middle of Iowa, garnered with the load of telling you what to think of it. To be honest, it’s not a task I’d prefer undertaking. The best thing I can say about is this: You’ll get what you want out of it.

I walked into the film having been raised as a Christian, and having a strong belief that the events I was about to watch were more than just a movie. So, to be honest, I could care less about the cinematography, the editing, or the script, as long as they weren’t sticking out like a sore thumb for me to scrutinize. They weren’t.

As for acting, well, for the most part I didn’t even consider the fact that there were actors. Only two cast members were previously known to me, and they both appeared almost unrecognizable. Probably a good decision, as it added greatly to the reality feel of the film. It’s also hard for me to critique the acting of people speaking a language I don’t know, because the delivery of the lines is not easy to discern. The people looked the parts.

This is especially true of Jim Caviezel in the lead. When I first heard that the burden of the film was set to be on his shoulders, I was worried. I didn’t see him as an actor with enough presence to pull it off. But, he manages to emote everything we’d expect from this tortured character, and he brings the passion to life, with results that feel real.

I keep noting the film’s “reality” aspect, and the thing is, that’s exactly how I looked at it. The Passion of the Christ, to me, is more of a documentary than a drama. It’s like a visualization of a historical tale, only it’s a historical tale that has great significance to me. I can see the story that’s been taught to me much more clearly now than I did before.

If you’re going into the film from another perspective, I can’t tell how you’ll feel about it. I would hope you could at least feel the power of the story and the character, even if you don’t believe in them. If you’re going to look at it more for its technical aspects, then maybe you’ll find it overly gruesome and lacking in style, or maybe you’ll just find it poorly written (although, I hope you understand Latin if you’re making that complaint).

But I can’t relate with those perspectives, and hence can’t allow myself to saddle this film with a letter grade. I can say, however, that I personally found a great deal in this film. It moved me more than any film I can recall, and when the final credits rolled on it I felt a chill run through my mind. I realized in that moment that what I had just experienced was an event I will remember forever, and I certainly hope that you, whoever you are, can see it the same way.

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