Passion of Christ Review

by Wahid Sharif (moodybastard_717 AT hotmail DOT com)
July 2nd, 2004

The Passion Of The Christ (2004)
    a review by

    Wahid Sharif

    "The Passion Of The Christ", directed by Mel Gibson, depicts the last twelve hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth (played by James Caviezel) on the day of his crucifixion in Jerusalem. The film begins with the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot, as Jesus is captured and taken back within the walls of Jerusalem where leaders of the Pharisees charge him with accusations of blasphemy in believing that he's the "son of God", and that he can perform miracles. Jesus is put on "trial" and condemned for his beliefs, which leads him to suffer the worse torture possible and ultimately his crucifixion (It is without a doubt the most graphic depiction of torture and humiliation ever put on screen). However, through all of this, Jesus maintains his spirituality, his dignity, and reflects back on some of the moments in his life that made him the man that he is.

    Okay....Now let me go back again. The film begins with Jesus being captured after being betrayed by Judas. To me, this is the biggest mistake that Mel Gibson and his writer, Benedict Fitzgerald, make by starting the film this way because from then on, the film becomes nothing more than a one-note film with no character development. In a nutshell, the film is Jesus being betrayed, captured, getting horrifically beaten in just about every way possible for about three-fourths of the film's two-hour and six minute running time, and finally getting nailed to the cross with brief but ineffective flashbacks sprinkled in, detailing some aspects of his life. These flashbacks don't detail enough information as Gibson becomes so determined to make us suffer the way Jesus allegedly suffered.

    The feeling I get is that Gibson probably figured that everyone knows the story of Jesus, therefore there is no point in getting into broad detail of his life and teachings. If this is what he figured, then that's a rather arrogant and misguided position to take. No matter what story is being told, whether it's in books or on the big screen, every story must have some element of three-dimensionality to it - Especially the characters of a story, even if it's Jesus Christ himself. I feel this film would have been better off if it ran about an hour longer just for the sake of character development, and it would have made me care a lot more about the horrific ordeal that Jesus goes through. It seems that with all the years Gibson has acted in and directed films, he would know better. I guess he doesn't, and that's a shame because the stunning photography by Caleb Deschanel, the beautiful music by John Debney, and the first rate editing by John Wright isn't complimented by the horrible script by Gibson and Fitzgerald.

    In an interview, Gibson said he wanted this film to be shocking. Yes, it's shocking alright....

    ....Shockingly bad.


Wahid Sharif

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