You know how sometimes you hear about violent films, then you see them and they’re not really that bad? The Passion of the Christ isn’t one of those films. I don’t really know what I could say that’s not been said by a thousand people already. I could probably pick holes in the theology, and there’s certainly some imagery I didn’t understand, but as films about Christ go it’s about the best I’ve seen. See it, make up your own mind, and then if it impacts you, maybe it’s a sign God wants you to do something more worthwhile than buy cheep tat.

Anyway, a few observations. You might not want to read them if you’ve not yet seen the film. Before I start; to say again that The Passion is easily the most accurate and powerful film of this you’re ever likely to see. With the exception of my third point these are all merely observations rather than criticisms.

  • Is the woman caught in adultery generally thought to be Mary Magdalene? Have I missed that in the gospels somewhere?
  • You can’t call this anti-Semitic without calling the gospels themselves anti-Semitic. From some quarters, maybe that was the point.
  • There’s some quite blatant idolisation of Mary going on in this film. Given that there are a fair few moments which seem to come from Catholic tradition rather than scripture, that’s not entirely surprising. But Gibson seemed to be trying to be trying to explain away the clear Biblical evidence that Jesus had biological brothers.
  • I was somewhat unnerved by some of the Satan imagery. I accept that could have been the idea, but I would have liked to have understood it. I’m thinking particularly of the bizarre child thing he’s holding in the crowd, and of the thing that growls at Judas after Jesus falls over the wall.
  • The film’s strong point is definitely in the main narrative. The flashbacks revert to your more traditional cheesy Jesus style.
  • What’s with the Jesus invented tables thing?

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