CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

February 25 Ash Wednesday - "The Passion of the Christ" opens

Based on the New Testament Gospels written by the disciples Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, "The Passion of the Christ" details the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus. The film opens in the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus the Rabbi anticipates the worst. This thirty-three year old carpenter knows that he must fulfill his destiny. He has come into the world to undertake the human burden of sin. If Jesus can retain the courage of his convictions, the devil will have no domain over man. Despite an early temptation from Satan, Jesus accepts his fate, is betrayed by his disciples, convicted by the Pharisees and becomes the victim of a kangaroo court of a Roman despot. This innocent religious teacher is tortured and sentenced to a horrible death.

"The Passion of the Christ" is everything you would expect from such a motion picture. The stations of the cross are respectfully recreated, but this may be the most humanistic presentation of Jesus Christ. The dialog is in both Aramaic and Latin, but with subtitles in English. The actors ensemble successfully communicate universal truth beyond the language barrier.

Mel Gibson has directed both a horrifying and beautiful film. Earning a best director Oscar for "Braveheart," Gibson once again reveals his artistic genius with a mixture of contemporary behavior within classic depth perception cinematography. While "The Passion of the Christ" may not be Oscar worthy next year, this film is Gibson's best work.

Mainstream media are missing the point "The Passion of the Christ." Instead of focusing on the themes of love, forgiveness and redemption, mainstream critics are playing the blame game on who crucified this savior born in Bethlehem. It is the Pharisees who facilitate the condemnation of Jesus. Saying that the Pharisees behavior represents Jewish thought is like saying David Koressh from WACO represents mainstream Christian doctrine. While the Pharisees are sinister, it is the Romans who are brutal. Several soldiers take delight in ripping the flesh of Jesus with a cat o' ninetails.. The sadistic glee is as universal of a school yard bully getting away with his crime from his P.E. instructor.

Unfortunately prejudice has fueled cultural division before "The Passion of Christ" premiered on the silver screen. If responsibility for the murder of Jesus must be assigned, it is a conspiracy of elements that implicates everybody. It should be noted that Mel Gibson only appearance is that of his hand holding the first nail that impaled Jesus to the cross.

No one is innocent, but through Jesus' love, forgiveness can be obtained. Suffering is a part of life. It is the maturity of life experience that one comes to understand the mystery of faith. At least if you are a Christian, you have someone you can pray with, that will allow you to share your burdens.

As a film columnist, it is a cop-out to say that a ticket buyer's individual appreciation for this movie depends on an individual's taste. I know I my reaction would different had I seen this film at age seventeen or age thirty-three. For this 41 year old man, "The Passion of the Christ" inspired reflective contemplation. Yet, as a film columnist, I must add that "The Passion of the Christ" is a magnificent flick.
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