The Passion of the Christ (DVD, 2004, Widescreen) Reviews

The Passion of the Christ (DVD, 2004, Widescreen)

192 consumer reviews
Average Product Rating: Excellent
5 stars
108
4 stars
31
3 stars
17
2 stars
18
1 star
18
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

Where Can I Buy It?

$5.94
Free Shipping eBay
$6.03
Free Shipping eBay
$6.43
+$1.99 shipping eBay

Keep in mind Iím an atheist!

Jul 14, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Cinematography, never boring, has a definite audience

Cons:Possibly anti-Semitic, unnecessarily explicit, not for everyone

The Bottom Line: You donít need a recommendation for this, more than likely youíve either seen it or donít ever want to. I found it a troubling, but interesting experience.


Ummm….It’s about this dude called Jesus. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Actually, the film charts the last twelve hours in the life of Jesus Christ (Jim Caviezel), betrayed by Judas, sent by Jewish High Priest Caiaphas to Roman Pontius Pilate (played by Hristo Naumov Shopov). Caiaphas and his fellow priests demand Christ be put to the cross, whilst Pilate actually shows some reluctance and meditation on the issue before ultimately handing Christ his fate- severe beating and scourging, followed by a brutal nailing to the cross. Meanwhile, Satan (Rosalinda Celantano- does that make her a Devil Woman? One for the Cliff Richard fans out there, and hello to both of you) lurks in the shadows, constantly mocking and taunting Christ.

This is probably going to be another long review from me, not because I can’t be bothered trying to be succinct, but because I believe religion to be a sensitive issue and must be completely clear in any discussions so as not to be misinterpreted or misunderstood. Anyway, I was a little wary of watching this Mel Gibson effort championed by many religious fundamentalists, as I am an atheist (though I do have a bible lying around my room here somewhere, even read parts of it as a teenager), albeit a far from militant one (at least now that I’ve matured). I’m not even sure I’m the right guy to be reviewing this film, though I enjoyed “The Ten Commandments” very much and even liked “The Greatest Story Ever Told” for the most part. So perhaps I am qualified (and I do reserve the right to be proven wrong when the End of Days comes, by the way!- I don’t know everything about everything and will no doubt sing the praises of Jesus when the sky starts falling). However, I was also wary about watching a film that many have labelled a religious ‘snuff’ film, an anti-Semitic work, and a ‘two-hour torture show’. So I waited an awful long time before finally giving it ago. You know what? With a few major reservations, I’ve got to say that the film isn’t half bad, if taken as simply a ‘story’ (and indeed for an atheist, that’s all these religious films can be). At no point did I check my watch, or start counting sheep, so it came as quite a surprise.

But there are indeed negatives, and I will get them out of the way first, as they are rather large flaws- or at least flaws as I see them. Firstly, I believe that the film, if not anti-Semitic (and I’m not convinced that Gibson is himself an active anti-Semite), is indeed able to be interpreted in such away, and laying the blame solely on religious texts doesn’t quite wash with me (From what I understand, the texts this film is based on indeed suggest that Christ’s plight was the doing of his own Jewish people), or at least there is more to it than slavish devotion to religious texts. I’m not about to defend religion or anything (I haven’t had a leave of my senses- yet!), but the problem lies with how Gibson approaches situations and characters, principally the bloodthirsty Jewish priests who are out for Christ to be crucified. I’m not talking about the controversial line about a ‘blood curse’ still being included in Aramaic but not subtitled (how many would have picked it up?), although that is a curious thing. No, I’m talking about the way he portrays the characters, principally Caiphas, who may as well have beaming red eyes, horns and a pitchfork…oh, wait, wrong character. Still, they are portrayed as mostly bloodthirsty, at least the religious elders are, whereas the Romans, although bloodthirsty in their own right, are chiefly represented by governor Pontius Pilate (played very well by Hristo Naumov Shopov), who unlike every other account that I’ve come across (take that as you will), is presented as a morally conflicted, ultimately well-meaning sort of fella, who is under enormous pressure. The Jewish Caiphas doesn’t even come close to getting this complex treatment. Sure, we get a couple of weeping female characters (one played by a wasted Monica Bellucci), and Simon of Cyrene, but they are given nothing else to do, they are mere witnesses. The rest, are seen as an angry mob, mostly. Having viewed this film after Gibson’s own drunken anti-Semitic (and sexist, let’s not forget!) tirade, I cannot help (it really is unavoidable, I’m afraid, even if you think it was more alcohol than anything else) but feel a little queasy at the goings on in this film, and I haven’t even gotten to the violence yet.

Oh, the violence! I’m not one to denounce gore in a film at all, but having done work experience at a school of theology (I didn’t know what it was at the time, OK?) and spoken to several staff there about this film, I’m pretty sure I can say that not all religious people feel the need to sit through a torture show in order to understand Christ’s sacrifice for humanity. Some do feel this way, and indeed many people do love this film and I respect them. I will not try and convert those people to my way of thinking. Even though I will stop short of actually calling this a torture show (really the ‘bad’ stuff only comprises about an hour or so), the film and the message is ultimately about the torture, we are to be shown (and in Gibson’s view, therefore truly understand) Christ’s suffering sacrifice for our own sins, and come out of it somehow enlightened. If you think it helps you, more power to you, me, I had to object to this ham-fisted approach, though I certainly couldn’t take my eyes off the screen while it was all taking place.

The most shocking thing about this film is that, considering all of the above reservations I had about the film, and considering the fact that I am an atheist (and therefore cannot possibly have the same emotional investment that many others- not that one can’t be affected by a movie, of course, but this is supposed to be more), I cannot deny that the film proved to be a fascinating experience. True, it is somewhat monotonous, and single-minded, but that does not mean I ever checked my watch throughout. There was too much food for thought- objectionable or not. And you know what? Cinematically, it often worked wonderfully. For whilst I had problems with the screenplay (odd, when you think about it) and the filmmakers’ bias, I cannot deny that some of the performances worked (such as the actor playing Pilate whom I have already mentioned, but Caviezel, despite perhaps not being an imposing enough figure, manages to perfectly convey Christ’s unwavering decision to die for our sins, no matter the pain and torture he goes through), and that the cinematography by Caleb Deschanel is truly outstanding, with particularly vivid use of blue. Although the screenplay indeed did feature a few fundamental (so to speak) problems, the first half of the film is still somewhat ‘entertaining’ on the level of a biblical/‘historical’ epic level, ala “Spartacus” or “The Ten Commandments” . It’s a lot moodier and solemn than some of those epic-type films, but it also has different intentions. And although it becomes a little monotonous, I also cannot deny that some of the violence packs a wallop (again, so to speak), even for an atheist like me. Having said that, there is nothing here that Gibson has said or done that will in any way change my views on religion (I consider it a social construct designed to structure society, not necessarily a bad thing, I’m just saying I don’t see anything else in it), and I find it a mistake that Gibson has preached solely to the most devout of believers, at the expense of many other religious and non-religious people (And don’t talk to me about box-office, no one knows whether the millions of people who have seen it have all loved it).


Recommend this product? No

Read all comments (7)

Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


1-9 of 9 best deals

THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST depicts the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth (Jim Caviezel), beginning with his betrayal by Judas Iscariot (Lu...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0

Free Shipping
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST depicts the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth (Jim Caviezel), beginning with his betrayal by Judas Iscariot (Lu...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
Free Shipping
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST depicts the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth (Jim Caviezel), beginning with his betrayal by Judas Iscariot (Lu...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
+$1.99 shipping
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST depicts the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth (Jim Caviezel), beginning with his betrayal by Judas Iscariot (Lu...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
Walmart.com
Store Rating: 3.0
13.59
+$4.97 shipping
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST depicts the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth (Jim Caviezel), beginning with his betrayal by Judas Iscariot (Lu...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST depicts the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth (Jim Caviezel), beginning with his betrayal by Judas Iscariot (Lu...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
+$2.95 shipping
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST depicts the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth (Jim Caviezel), beginning with his betrayal by Judas Iscariot (Lu...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
Free Shipping
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST depicts the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth (Jim Caviezel), beginning with his betrayal by Judas Iscariot (Lu...
eBay
Store Rating: 4.0
Free Shipping
1-9 of 9 best deals     Why are these stores listed?