Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Passion of the Christ

In all the hype about Mel's religious beliefs and people dying of heart attacks during screenings and other people confessing to murder after watching it and anti-Semitism and a million other things, mostly lost in the noise was the simple fact that the movie is terrible. Jim Caviziel gives it his all, but Crazy Mel only cares about the blood, and making sure each and every member of the audience is drenched in it by the end. Is there a higher meaning to any of it? Maybe, but only what you bring to it, which the movie's greatest flaw -- if you're already moved to tears by the story of Jesus, then the movie might move you to tears; otherwise, you'll be bored. Or sickened. Or really, really pissed off. Gibson doesn't try to persuade you over to his side of the fence either way, expecting the story to speak for itself. And it might in the hands of a more talented filmmaker, but endless shots of Christ falling to the dirt in slow-motion do not equal "emotional insight." There are a few scenes here and there that show that Gibson could have had something (the beautifully shot opening sequence in Gethsemane, or when Mary gently cleans her son's blood from the stones after his torture), but he falls flat on its face right into a big puddle of blood and entrails.

Rating: DUD

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