My Review of the "Passion" (2/26/04)
When I go to movies, I do two somewhat contradictory things, almost simultaneously. They are:
1) Enjoy the movie- laugh at the dumb jokes, cry at the obvious tearjerkers, etc. etc.
2) Criticize the movie on its most minor points- 007's Walther PPK holds SEVEN shots, not six!
It was extraordinarily odd that I did neither when I went to see "The Passion of the Christ".
It took me about three seconds to assimilate the fact that it was essentially a foreign-language film, and three more seconds to get updated with the timeframe, and a final three seconds for me to try to remember if the Devil was in the Garden of Gesthemane.
Then I fell into the movie.
I forgot I was sitting there in a dark room full of strange people with my feet adhered to the floor by various materials better left unidentified, staring at a piece of canvas with colored light moving across it. I forgot all the controversy, all the pent-up rage, all the hype about Mel Gibson's movie.
I was watching the Passion.
It was so brutal, so graphic, so plainly and simply horrific that it brought back all the stuff about Jesus' crucifixion that Sunday School left out. Other movies tell you that Jesus loved us all, enough to die for us. "The Passion of the Christ" forces us to SEE that Jesus suffered.
Suffering is the message of "Passion", from the very beginning, where the Devil admonishes Jesus for trying to take the burden of everyone's sins, and the full weight of his responsibilities decends on Christ's shoulders. Every single moment is either dedicated to showing Christ's suffering, or dedicated to his followers watching him suffer.
It's a wake-up message to lazy Christians (like me), not a conversion message to heathens. We are reminded, constantly, that Jesus' sacrifice is not meant to be taken lightly.
It's not a film for entertainment. It's not a movie you'd be interested enough to see more than once. It's not be the best-made film ever. It's not even the best-made film about the life of Christ. But for a jaded movie watcher like me, it was an experience to remember.
The Seraphim's Rating: 4 out of 5