Film The Passion of the Christ has a paradoxical status. Considering it’s a film spoken in two ancient languages, with subtitles which tells the story of the last twelve hours of a man’s life which is based upon of the important stories of the past two thousand years which features the minimum of characterization, Bergmanesque supernatural elements and an expectation of the audience that they will know that story already and that they will be able to follow some of the minutest religious references committed to film, it’s been released like a Hollywood blockbuster on hundreds of screens and the people going to see it seem to be treating the experience like any other film, taking to their seat with popcorn and coke. I’ve had conversations with people who say that don’t like watching subtitles films, or costume dramas, or horror films and they’ve every intention of seeing this and it's produced massive box office.

But its not a film I would recommend, not in the traditional sense, not in the sense that I’d tell everyone to go and see Zatoichi for example. It’s not a pleasant experience. Parts are horrific, taking body shock and torture to a new level. There are moments of shocking ambiguity in which it isn’t clear what is happening or why. I haven’t read many reviews which look at it in a traditional sense of how good the acting, music or cinematography are – even though in some cases all are extremely good and with some depth considering the short time frame within which they have time to develop.

With my complicated religious status I can’t really comment on how accurately the events are presented, or if everything is philosophically correct. It didn’t move me to convert (which I believe has happened to some viewers) or make me to want the film banned. Looking at it purely from this dispassionate place then, I was moved by Christ’s mother’s overall attempts to come to terms with what is happening to her boy. I can imagine that as Jesus grew and his conviction in who He was became clearer she could feel him slipping away from being her son to the Father of humanity. I was especially moved that the only time He simply becomes her son again is in death when he is taken from the cross and she claps him in her arms and she is able to comfort him. Ironically the film works best as a human story, about man’s inhumanity to himself and the cost.

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