(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Sunday, February 29, 2004
The Passion of The Christ

While I would like to write a review of Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ as a film on its filmic and artistic merits, not its religious import, I realise that is impossible. For example, one of the first thoughts when reflecting on this film was it should definitely have and R18+ rating; the film is horrific and gut-wrenching in its almost constant and unflinchingly realistic violence. That said, I realise that the story of Christ has a unique place for many people in so much as this is the single violent tale which is legitimised since it describes the burden of suffering that Jesus of Nazareth endured before his death.

From a the point of view of narrative construction, The Passion of The Christ relies on violence, violence and more violence to get an emotional response from the audience. James Caviezel does a decent job portraying Jesus, suffering convincingly; Monica Bellucci as Magdalene and Maia Morgenstern as Mary also do well, although are mainly called upon to look pained, empathising with Jesus, and cry on cue. The choice of Latin and Aramaic languages with subtitles does add an air of believability to the period setting. However, the one of the biggest drawbacks was a far-too-dominating score which overwhelms some scenes, and feels all too cliched during the film's climax!

The main sense I got from watching The Passion of The Christ was that director Mel Gibson wanted this film to be an emotional rollercoaster; an almost painful viewing experience, not a narrative and certainly not a film to be enjoyed. No matter what background viewers come from, it would be difficult to be unmoved by the portrayal of vioelence and suffering on the big screen. However, with regard to the contentious views the film supposedly portrays, all I can say is I was not Catholic or anti-Semitic when I walked into the film screening, and nor was I when I left.


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