HOLLYWOOD—There are movies that move you and then there are those movies that can change you. It’s hard to fathom that I never saw “The Passion of the Christ” when it was released back in 2004 to gargantuan numbers. This week I saw the film in all of its horrific glory and it moved me beyond tears.
I’m a religious person, but I wouldn’t consider myself overly religious, but seeing this movie totally put something into perspective for me that I’ve never experienced. To see Jesus, physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally endure the violence that occurred was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in cinema. I’ve seen violent films, but nothing to this magnitude.
It was almost like just when you expect the intensity to decrease, it ignites to another level. The flogging scene had me flinching with every strike, and the amount of blood that just peeled away at Jesus’ skin, left me sobbing. I so wanted to change the channel on multiple occasions, but something in my mind whispered, “You can’t this is something you have to see.”
That drove me to keep watching to the end. Had I read the bible, of course, gone to Church, without a doubt, learned the truth about Easter, you bet. For some reason, I still can’t fathom, I wanted to see the outcome; I wanted to know how this movie would end, would there be a glimmer of hope, a shining light at the end? At times, I sensed, nope, it’s not going to end well, and perhaps, just maybe that is what director Mel Gibson was aiming for.
To be quite honest, I have no idea what his endgame was, I sense, it was to deliver an emotional awakening in the viewer. Was violence the way to do that, some would argue no, others would say well, this is the tale of what happened, just Gibson’s perception.
Violence has a way of unnerving people, that scene of Jesus being nailed to the cross, ripped my heart from my chest, in every possible way. I screamed, I clammed up like a baby at times, it hurt to witness this and that might have been the purpose of “The Passion of the Christ.” To get the viewer to understand what was sacrificed for our sins.
Yeah, some flack might go into place for those who don’t believe in a higher power, but I do, so for me it directly impacted me in a way that very few films do. “12 Years a Slave” was a brutal film to watch in my opinion, at some point I thought, I had never seen such a punishing movie; my perception might have changed slightly after seeing this one.
I know many would like to give credit to director Mel Gibson, but as a spectator kudos have to be awarded to actor Jim Caviezel whose portrayal of Jesus Christ is brilliant. I kept asking myself, how in the hell was this film overlooked by the Academy. Did they find it too tempting to put a spotlight on a movie that deserved way more accolades than it received? It’s like the Academy gets it right sometimes, and then there are those times, where you want to shout, what the hell were they thinking? I also want to praise the work of actresses Monica Belluci and Maia Morgenstern whose ability to deliver those emotional arcs, further tugged at the viewer.
I want those who have never seen “The Passion of the Christ,” to consider this movie, not simply because of its religious intent, but for the emotional journey that you will endure watching this film, and reflecting on it.