Film Screening 12th August, 2004

Poster for The Passion of the Christ

The Passion of the Christ 

8:00 PM, 12th August, 2004
No Guests

  • MA
  • 127 mins
  • 2004
  • Mel Gibson
  • Mel Gibson, Benedict Fitzgerald
  • James Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Hristo Shopov

Joke titles that circulated on the internet include "The Pasting of the Christ" and "The Bashin' of the Christ". Not much happens in the film: Jesus is captured; Jesus is tortured to death in mercilessly vivid detail for an hour and a half of screen time. There's a religious justification, of sorts, for this over-the-top sadism - Mel Gibson wanted to make absolutely, viscerally clear what Christ's sacrifice was. But did we really want an entire film obsessively devoted to this one, narrow aspect of the Bible?

Well, why not? The Passion is that rare film that achieves greatness by sheer accident, for reasons its maker never intended. The prolonged violence (could a human being really survive such punishment?) isn't as hard to sit through as you'd think; after a while, like the blood and guts in a Salvador Dali painting, it crosses over into surrealism. This probably wasn't meant to happen, just as the acting probably wasn't meant to be so broad, and the use of Ancient tongues wasn't meant to sound so unnatural; but the combined result is to make the film an intense, feverish supernatural dark fantasy like nothing else on Earth.

Henry Fitzgerald