Director: Mel Gibson
Christianity has made the cross the world's best known logo. Mel Gibson has made it a blockbuster, with an end-of-run take estimated to be US $400 million, among the ten highest grossing films ever. The producers and distributors have got all who may have objected—cardinals, rabbis and leading film critics, both Jewish and Christian—to shower good chits like confetti on this marriage of God and gore.
When you sit down to take in the film, you know not just the broad story but all that has been said for and against it. You wait for the lights to dim, tightening your grip on the armrests. And you don't relax until the end titles. That's the strength and weakness of the film.
Passion is a wonder to behold from its misty opening in the Garden of Gethsemane to the black thunder of a boulder rolling from the mouth of Jesus' sepulchre, signalling his Resurrection and the film's end. Performances dwindle amid an opulence of costumes, sets and locations. Jim Caviezel as Jesus comes over as just a Very Special Effect.
Yet Bishop Joseph Mar Barnabas is right about the film, "It is more than 1,000 sermons." It spends 125 minutes working on the muscles and nerve endings of its audience. But the heart and spirit are left strangely untouched. You wait for an insight, a look, a moment to pierce the tough skin of scepticism or lend an edge to a story overtold. It never comes.
The Passion of The Christ is about the last 12 hours of Jesus' life. It goes from his arrest in the garden to his brutal scourging and bloody crucifixion, both lovingly dwelt on by Gibson and his camera. But why The Christ? Because He signifies the Messiah/the Redeemer.
The savagery has earned the film an "R" rating the world over. In India, it has got past the censors without a frame cut. Christians, presumably, are less likely than others to have their religious sentiments hurt. The exploitation of the scourging of Jesus, a real-time ordeal for all, on and off screen, details of the crucifixion—nails tearing into palms and feet—leaves many feeling more used than uplifted, more bludgeoned than thoughtful. But Passion will inform where once there was ignorance or indifference. It will preach its greatest lesson to the converted.
But will it reach the likes of those who robbed a leprosy hospital of its director and his sons in the inferno of a jeep?
US Top 5
1. Mean Girls
2. Man on Fire
3. 13 Going on 30
5. Laws of Attraction
INDIAN Top 5
1. Main Hoon Na
5. Shaadi Ka Laddoo
Courtesy: Film Information