The Passion of the Christ (2004)

The Passion of the Christ (2004)
  • Time: 127 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Mel Gibson
  • Cast: James Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern, Monica Bellucci


The Passion of The Christ focusses on the last twelve hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life. The film begins in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus has gone to pray after sitting the Last Supper. Jesus must resist the temptations of Satan. Betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus is then arrested and taken within the city walls of Jerusalem where leaders of the Pharisees confront him with accusations of blasphemy and his trial results in a condemnation to death.


  • To start with, The Passion of the Christ is quite an awe-inspiring film that sheds light upon the manner in which Jesus was crucified. After doing some research on the movie’s title, I even realized that the word “passion” used to refer to a state of suffering and pain (connecting to the immense amount of cruel beatings and treatment Jesus was forced to endure). The entire duration of the movie is approximately two hours, and almost three- fourths of those hours would probably be Jesus sustaining terrible injuries from his captors. The intense gore and violence portrayed in the film is far beyond what I expected.

    When reading the bible verses explaining how Jesus was killed, I would only think, “Oh wow, that’s horrifying!” Now I have seen what those descriptions would actually look like, and I can’t exactly say I was glad to. However, I have gained a deeper understanding of the price Christ had to pay for cleansing the people of the world of their sins. Before I continue with this review, I want to stress that this movie is something not to be shown to a family containing young children or in the classroom. The Passion of the Christ is filled with images relentless whippings, beatings, and the dripping of blood from Jesus’s body.

    Moving on, I want to discuss how the movie portrayed Jesus’s disciples. Many of the biblical books and movies I have seen depict them as clean-cut and well-mannered men. On the other hand, this movie, in my perspective, shows them as tough, rebellious individuals who resort to violence in order to protect their master. This is not overly surprising, because they are poor men in a chaos-stricken land, after all. In addition, I hadn’t really known what the disciples were supposed to look like beforehand.

    To sum the movie up, it is theologically accurate (in a gory manner) and spiritually moves the audience. It must have taken the actors a great deal of serious training in order to pull of such beautiful portrayals of the biblical characters. I give The Passion of the Christ eight stars out of ten.

  • After proudly receiving the Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture for the medieval epic Braveheart (1995), one would be compelled to predict a fruitful career in filmmaking for Mel Gibson.
    However, four directed films in thirteen years means that the popular (and controversial) figure of Hollywood is still better known for who he is – an actor with good looks and above average acting skills – than as one of the world’s leading filmmakers.

    Gibson returns behind the camera once again for The Passion of the Christ. As the title suggests, it is a film that deals with Jesus Christ. To be precise, the film depicts in excruciating detail the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life.

    The word “excruciating” is apt because this is perhaps the most violent and gory picture to receive mainstream distribution before torture porn (Saw, 2004; Hostel, 2005) become a daily staple for cinemagoers shortly after.

    Jim Caviezel plays Jesus in an inspired performance that ought to have been rewarded with an acting Oscar nomination. He suffers for his craft, both physically and mentally, as he painstakingly portrays the Son of God as one who bled for the sins of humankind.

    The supporting cast is slightly weak for a film of this magnitude, theological-wise, resulting in character relations (such as the Mary/Jesus bond) that are not as emotionally fulfilling as it should.

    It takes about thirty minutes for the film to assert its potency, beginning with the capture of Jesus and later, his flogging, and much later and inevitably, his crucifixion.

    Prior to all that is a quite lethargic attempt in introducing Jesus and his disciples that ought to be more tightly-paced. However, the next ninety minutes jolts us awake as Gibson recreates the unimaginable ordeal that Jesus suffered at the hands of brutal Roman soldiers.

    The uncompromising direction by Gibson is balanced by the film’s cinematography by Caleb Deschanel, which is authentic and a beautiful counterpoint to the ugliness as personified by selfish human beings. The music by John Debney is rightly low-key with little discernible motifs, using mellow strings and choir to accentuate the scenes rather than overwhelm them.

    There are short flashbacks inserted during the course and in the context of the film, which either show past events that draw parallels to present circumstances, or prophesize future occurrences that are rooted in the holy scripture that is the Bible. These flashbacks come more as a relief to the bloodletting than as a device to build character development.

    The Passion of the Christ cannot be described as skillful filmmaking (there are flaws in pacing and an overuse of the slow-motion technique) but it remains powerful nevertheless.

    GRADE: B

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