The Passion of the Christ

Director: Mel Gibson
Year Released: 2004
Rating: 1.0

More akin to Burgess' Ludovico Technique than an actual 'story,' this really is two hours of one man being beaten to pieces - Mel turns up the violence quotient, letting you savor every cat-o-nine-tails lashing, every spit in the face, every pierce of the crown of thorns. Unlike Pasolini in his masterpiece, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Gibson doesn't care to put it all that much in context, merely showing the anguish and not the political discontent Christ really was, complaining about the lapse state of man and the condition of society - he's less interested in the particulars and more focused on (1.) allowing the audience to flagellate itself for its own (presumed) sins and (2.) trying to capitalize on the current Crusade of Christianity versus Islam (not to mention the current obsession with 'moral values' - this movie acted as a unexpected omen that the Religious Right and G.W. Bush would win the 2004 Election). Caleb Deschanel's photography makes the bloodletting and starkness look horrifying and having the dialogue in Aramic is a choice decision, but this is ethically questionable and (worst yet) excessively belabored filmmaking - it makes its point very clear by the half-hour mark but keeps kicking away nonetheless. Plus, anyone that loves this and complains about the violence of any other movie is a goddamn hypocrite, so that has to count for something.