In honor of Easter, I decided to rewatch this movie and review it. It may seem late, but for all Eastern Orthodox Christians, Easter is today! The Passion is a movie that has been hated and loved by so many people. Let’s review it.
The three key points to this film are the cinematography, authenticity, and of course, the violence.
This movie looks gorgeous. Aside from the opening scene, which is very visually stimulating, The Passion makes a creative choice that is very interesting.
Even as Jesus is beaten and taunted, the brightness stayed consistent. Typically in films, when something brutal is happening on the screen, the screen becomes darker to adjust to the darker mood. The Passion, however, is constantly bright, despite the violence depicted on screen. It established the scene of a hot Middle East and didn’t try to display Jesus’s pain in an artsy way. It was raw. This film is visually appealing in terms of the setting.
The authenticity of a film like this is very important. It is clear that Mel Gibson put in 110% effort. Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin are spoken, subtitled so us viewers aren’t left in the dark. Gibson stayed true to the Bible in terms of the story, despite being demanded to alter some scenes that were biblically accurate. The costumes are extremely authentic, and in a movie where beards are plentiful, it is surprisingly easy to identify who is who.
The biblical references, from the snake getting its head crushed, to Peter denying Jesus three times, to the thief on the cross, were intriguing, adding another layer to the story. The addition of Satan into the story also added some depth, as it reminds the viewer of the battle between good and evil.
Over all, this movie is authentic, adding biblical references to make it more legitimate.
I can’t review this movie without talking about the violence. The Passion is brutally violent. Gibson’s intention was to portray the suffering of Jesus before and as he was killed. In Christianity, it is significant that Jesus suffered and died for our sins. Gibson didn’t fluff up the story, for the sacrifice of Jesus is a big deal. He didn’t get beaten up a bit and then crucified. He was brutalized, and Gibson doesn’t shy away from it.
Whether you believe in the Bible or not, he stayed true to it.
Just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness. – Isaiah 52:14
Gibson achieved that. The acting of this film cannot be dismissed either, as Caviezel played Jesus with his heart. Maia Morgenstern as Mary delivered a powerful performance as well. Even though these actors weren’t speaking English, they all acted at their best, investing me into the story. Along with the moving score, the Passion is powerful.
The Passion of the Christ is emotionally moving, powerful, and masterfully made. It is a shame that Gibson is frowned upon due to this film, because he made a great movie that will stick around for generations. This Filet, though bloody, was necessary.