Is Passion of the Christ worth watching?

Some friends of mine host Movie Night every Monday evening: whoever wants to show up is welcome, there’s a potluck dinner at 7 and the movie starts around 7:30. The movies are arranged in series; whoever is hosting the series picks out maybe half a dozen movies to show, centered around a theme of their choosing. There’s usually some informal discussion after the movie.

Well, the current theme is Belief. So far, we’ve watched Mad Max 2, What the Bleep Do We Know?, and Triumph of the Will. Next week is a movie about the Ramones (not sure which one) and then The Passion of the Christ. I never miss Movie Night, but I’m seriously considering staying home for Passion. I’ve heard nothing but bad things about it, but I’d still be interested in watching it in the same observatory way I watched Triumph of the Will, if it weren’t for what I’ve heard about the movie’s violence. I won’t watch Braveheart again for the same reason (what is it with Gibson and the violence?). On the other hand, I could always close my eyes or leave the room during the worst parts, and I always look forward to movie night, and I’m sure there will be a great discussion after Passion. So tell me, are there redeeming qualities to Passion, or is it really one long propogandistic gorefest?

It’s extremely gory, for sure. If it wasn’t for the gore, I’d have walked away from it because it was way too long as far as I was concerned. The gore aspects…hmmm…extremely brutal. Some people can’t take that kind of relentless visual beating. My husband had a very difficult time with how brutal it was. And he’s a guy who prefers that every movie have at least 8 quality kills.

If you close your eyes for the violent parts, you might as well not show up. It’s about 90% of the total film.

I’d recommend watching it, though. It’s got some very striking cinematography. The final shot of Christ up on the cross is particularly beautiful.


It’s nothing but violence. Gibson had to invent acts of violence that are not mentioned in any gospel or in Judeo/Roman history just to satisfy his religious bloodlust.

I’m a big fan of horror movies. Including the hugest gorefests imaginable, but never have I seen graphic acts of torture displayed in just gleeful graphic detail for such a long period of time. And what’s worse, this is all in sadistic realism presented with grim resolve, not the cartoonish bucket of bloods approach.

There’s no discussion of Jesus’ teachings. There’s a little character work with Peter, Herod, and Judas, but it’s all sideshow to the grand guginol of Jesus being whipped over and over again. The cinematography is pretty good, it’s a pity what they shot was so despicable.

If you want to leave during the scenes of graphic violence, bring a book. You won’t be atching this film.

In some ways it’s a pretty good film. It’s shot well, and the acting is decent. I wish that Gibson had stood his ground on not wanting subtitles, but perhaps on DVD those can be turned off.

What I didn’t like about it was how ridiculously cartoony it got. It almost started to look like The Passion of Daffy Duck. I was laughing my ass off at how accident-prone the main character was. Yes, I know there’s nothing very funny about an old lady slipping on a banana peel either, but sometimes you just gotta laugh anyway.

Oh, and the ending sucked. It would have been a much better movie if the last two scenes were omitted.

But so cartoonish in every other way. I loved the scene when He fell off the bridge. It was so very Wile E Coyote.

I saw it just out of linguistic curiosity (especially for the Latin – very cool.)

Otherwise, I despise Mel Gibson.

Next one will be in Maya. Ma’alo!

What with all the money this made, what’re the chances of there being a Passion of the Christ II? :smiley:

You know, after posting that the thought occurred to me that there is no way I was the first one to think of that.

Man, was I ever right.

PS, link is to a Flash animation. Just watching it is enough for Jack Chick to be convinced that you’re going to hell.

It could be about the second coming, and they could merge it with the Left Behind flicks, I guess. Gibson directs Kirk Cameron!

My understanding is that it wasn’t supposed to be about his teachings. It was supposed to be about the last few hours of his life, which weren’t exactly a picnic if the film is to be believed.

Hey, some of us are trying to keep our lunch down.

It was supposed to be a “You Are There” sort of thing. Which I think is a brilliant idea. Gibson’s original plan of having no subtitles was a stroke of genius. Too bad he caved on that. But to me where this movie fell down (repeatedly, and on shark pointy rocks) was the inclusion of all the supernatural stuff. And all of the editorializing. And the extra violence that just went into gratuitous territory. Had Gibson stuck with a plain old “You Are There” format, this could have been a brilliant film.

I don’t want to jump ship here, but I think it’s worth watching. Not because of the message, or the story or anything - it’s basically a snuff film.

But because of Monica Bellucci.

Oh man.

  • Peter Wiggen

It is gruesome. Crucifixion was not a humane execution. It was specifically designed to prolong death and humiliate the victim. You can question his choice of subject matter, but I think Gibson handled the topic appropriately. In for a penny, in for a pound.

I grew up Catholic so the film resonated with me as it was a vivid depiction of stories I am very familiar with. It is pretty much verbatim from the Gospels and “realistic” in its depiction of the events described therein (apart from a few unnecessary artistic flourishes such as Satan suckling Mini-me). If you’re interested in being a fly on the wall at Jesus’ execution, then watch it - but you will be struggling to keep your lunch down at some points.

It’s a medieval Passion play, filmed with modern cinematic realism, so I guess it’s not surprising that the brutality is at a level I can only describe as pornographic.

Personally, I would have liked it if the last scene had shown the tomb being opened several weeks later – to reveal Jesus’ rotting corpse. Instead we get this bullshit resurrection that somehow makes everything all right.

I’m an atheist and I think Mel Gibson’s bonkers with a serious slant toward “total horse’s ass”, but I liked the movie. It is definitely gory, it is definitely odd, and has some elements I don’t like (Herod Antipas as fey if not gay, the devil as a supposedly androgynous but most definitely played by a woman actor, the grotesque O’Connor like imagery) but it’s an extremely interesting film and at times very well done. (The scene of Christ falling and Mary having a flashback to his childhood was, I thought, a brilliant and moving addition.)

I did not see the anti-Semitism that was raved about (the Jewish priests are the villains, but they were in the Gospels as well). I went prepared to dislike it and emerged thinking it was good filmmaking.

I saw it and I enjoyed it but ONLY because I am a Christian. I remember walking out after the film thinking “wow, that was disgustingand disturbing, Christ really took a licking for me…”

But if I didn’t believe the “Christ took a licking for me” part then the film would have absolutely sucked. As a movie, I didn’t enjoy it. As a message, it was great.

I would not recommend this to any non-Christians. Not because it’s some secret club or anything, just because it’s a crap movie unless you want to be disturbed for the message.

I enjoyed the movie. But would you watch a three hour beat-down after a nice dinner? (And a week removed from a Ramone’s film?) I’d attempt to talk the host into making another selection.

Bah. Give me crucifixion over impalement any day. (Spoiler boxed due to extremely graphic and gruesome description)

One particularly gruesome form of impalement involved being forced to stand over a wide stake which was just tall enough that it penetrated the victim’s rectum deeply. This left them unable to remove themselves, or to sit. As their legs tired, they would slowly sink onto the stake, which eventually would cause mortal damage, but only over the course of hours, or even days.