• Movie Review: The Passion of the Christ
  • Actors: James Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Maia Morgenstern, Christo Jivkov, Francesco De Vito
  • Directors: Mel Gibson
  • Language: Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin
  • Rating: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Cost:  Blue-Ray $14 to $30,  DVD $15 to $20

A note about a second version of the film, called “Definitive Edition”. This edition enables the viewer to choose to view or not to view six minutes of the most intense violence. This option can be selected from the top menu when the movie first starts up.

If you are looking for a movie review from a Catholic moral, theological and artistic perspective, Steven Graydanus does a fantastic job of reviewing all types movies on his web site Decent Films. For his review of The Passion, please see his site.

This review is something different, perhaps a spiritual perspective. My goal is to convince any reader of this that has not seen the movie, to see it, and any one who has seen it, to watch it again. I have seen The Passion about five times, I purchased the DVD and watch it each Good Friday.

So why watch the movie, for either a first time or multiple times?  A typical Catholic will have read or listened to The Passion narrative from the Gospel most likely on Good Friday services.  The Gospel accounts are not the same type of writing as is found in modern day novels.  Even in a modern novel, the words of any author would be limited when trying to describe on paper the type of details that are seen on a movie or TV screen when dealing with the type of torture that was inflected by the Roman solders on Jesus.  The brutality and horrific damage done to the body of Jesus during the “scourging at the pillar” was probably enough to kill him even without the crucifixion.  The damage done to the skin, muscles, internal organs, the blood loss and shock that the body endured really have to be seen to fully understand the words of Jesus (John 15:13) when he says “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. “
As a side note: Jesus came to this earth to die for all of us, a quick estimate would be some 10 billion people both alive today and in the past.

A full knowledge and understanding The Passion of the Christ, allows us to fully understand the “Good News” message of Jesus as contained in the Gospel. I believe the key to understanding fully The Passion is the scourging at the pillar. The violence we see on TV and in movies and computer games has de-sensitized our culture to the reality of pain and death. For in watching this movie the reality of pain, suffering and the resulting death is done to someone we know, or perhaps someone we should know better than we do, and this is what makes The Passion real for us.  The brutality of the Roman solders represents the sins and hatred that mankind can and does inflect upon other people, people of other countries, skin colors and other religions.  Watching and feeling this movie (yes, feeling it in the pit of your stomach) brings about a change in people.

Seeing and knowing all that Jesus endured for the forgiveness of your sins (and mine) makes the profession of faith we believe in all that more personal and real. All that more personal because when looking every day at a crucifix on a wall, the wood and body hanging on it (however realistic) become instant reminders of scenes from the movie, and the love that Jesus has for each of us.  For while we can look at a crucifix multiple times each day knowing that it represents a moment in time that Jesus spent on the cross, watching this movie once a year represents two hours of perhaps the twelve hours of The Passion.  In conclusion, when thinking about this movie always remember how it ends, and that the love Jesus has for us includes the gift of our resurrection and eternal life.