After seeing this movie I have got to say that anyone who saw anti-semitism in this film must be an absolute fucking moron. I cannot begin to describe how difficult it would be to view this as an anti-semetic film and is only possible if your IQ is in the single digits and you suffer from alzheimers. I cannot begin to tell you how fucking pissed off I am at those people who have claimed it's anti-semetic without even seeing the film since I strained to find any trace of bigotry against Jews and failed miserably. The only comparrison that I can come up with is having some jackass claim that a movie about any battle in the civil war is anti-white. At most you can say this movie painted the church elders as being shortsighted power hungry men who wouldn't brook any challenge to their authority but even this view is incomplete. Two of the elders were shown protesting the kangeroo court calling it a travesty again and again, questioning why it was held in the middle of the night and other council members were exculuded or not informed of it. For each Jew for cheered for the crucification of Jesus, there were dozens of others along the way who wept for him, tried to comfort him, and aided him as they could. As per the gospel, a jewish man was taken from the crowd to help jesus carry his cross and they dragged it together, arm in arm, the man supporting Jesus when he could no longer stand. Another jewish woman comes to him when he falls and gives him a towel to wipe his face and tries to give him a drink of water, telling him over and over how sorry she was at what was happening to him. Anti-semetic? Only if you're a fucking moron. The only truly sadistic and evil people in the entire movie were the roman guards and there it was without the slightest hint of redemption. Those of roman descent would have a more justified reason for claiming the movie was anti-roman than anti-semetic.
It wasn't that bad really. I thought it was going to be God awful and really, I don't see how it was any worse than any of a dozen movies I could name off the top of my head including braveheart. The sole difference between the vioelnce in this film and others is that it's low level constant rather than shock, jerk, and move on. Most of the violence you see in other movies is quick, shocking and cleanly over. Braveheart for instance had people getting hit with a pick in the helmet, hands being chopped off, people coughing up blood after being hacked with swords, etc...but the camera always pans away to the next scene cleanly. Here we see the pain continue, we see the labored steps, we see the caked blood remain that that is the difference. In all, it was no more violent than most action movies I've seen, simply that you're not allowed to dismiss the violence and move on. Other than the scourging and the crucifiction itself, most of the movie consisted of showing pain rather than violence. The majority of the scenes was where jesus carries his cross through the street with the jewish man has him gasping and stumbling and falling from his previous scourging. This movie deals with violence pretty much the opposite of a movie like blackhawk down, another film lambasted by some as being racist. There the complaint was that the death of somalis were too clean, too easy. There was no pain, no wounding. Simply an asceptic, one shot - one kill sort of view of warfare. In The Passion, we are continually reminded of the pain that remains through each step to the crucifiction.
Bring your own catholic (Substitute generic christians as necessary):
In generally the movie was comprehensible even for non-christians though in my case I brought a catholic along to translate for me through the parts I didn't understand. There were certainly deeper insights for one who is familiar with the gospels though my lack of knowledge didn't significantly detract from my enjoyment of the film. Any questions I had I was able to ask my friend afterwards and she pretty much set me straight. My first question was 'How come peter was such a pussy?' btw. Now that I think about it...perhaps it was made a bit esoteric and obscure for non-christians for a reason. The intention might be to spur their interest in the gospels simply as a means to answer the questions that The Passion raised, and certain I know that I am more interested in learning about christianity after this exposure.
I was a little worried that the entire theatre was going to break into hysterical sobs during the movie. I don't care for people sobbing during movies. It ruins the experience for me quite frankly. I still remember going to see titanic in the theatres with a couple friends and sitting in front of three highschool girls who spent a good chunk of the time crying their eyes out in big choking sobs. A few people got weepy from what I could hear but it was a small minority and they kept it to a minimum. I happened to glance over at Anitra (the person who came with me) during the scene where the raven or crow or whatever pecked the eye out of one of the crucified men and found her grinning like a fiend. Go figure. I admit I got a little ferklemped(sp) myself during a couple of the scenes. Most notably when Mary sees her son beaten bloody and carrying the cross and runs to him, falling to her knees and telling him that she is there. It's interspliced with a scene from jesus's childhood where he had fallen and she also rushed to his side to comfort him and tell him she was there. That got me.
Movie spiffy. Some of it was a little over the top like some of the satan scenes. I ecspecially didn't care for that angst scream after Jesus's sacrifice. I think everyone should see this film at some point.