Directed by: Mel Gibson
Starring: Jim Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Maia Morgenstern
I didn’t plan to watch The Passion of the Christ right after The Ten Commandments, but I really couldn’t have done it any better if I had tried. I mean, they are both based on books from the same series, right? So it’s basically like this is a sequel. And you know how sequels are always worse than the original…
Jesus Christ thinks that he’s the messiah, but the established Jewish church disagrees. They disagree so much that they want the local Roman governor to crucify the guy, and he refuses. His compromise is that he’ll beat Jesus within an inch of his life, so he suffers a lot, but at least he won’t die. It turns out that these Jews are just really adamant about wanting to kill Jesus, and given a choice between releasing him and a well-known murderer, they choose the murderer. Finally the Roman agrees and Jesus goes and gets himself crucified.
Apart from the film being two hours of torture porn with a vague religious connotation (and some pretty extreme anti-Jewish overtones), it doesn’t work very well as a film. There are just tons of huge holes in character and motivations. I’ve never read the Bible (well, I’ve read Revelations and some of the Old Testament because that’s where all the cool stuff is), so I had no idea why the church wanted to kill Jesus so bad. They never addressed it, and I always had the impression that it was the Romans who wanted to kill him, so I was pretty confused by that. And sure, everybody knows the basic gist of Jesus’ whole deal, but he was just a punching bag in this movie and you don’t get any sort of sense that he’s doing this for the sake of other people or any of that stuff which is the whole point of the story. So yeah, if you wanted to see Saw with less-developed characters and religious cliches dropped in unceremoniously, then this is the movie for you!