"THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST" GUEST MOVIE REVIEW...NOTE FROM JOE GANDELMAN: William Drury is a New Jersey-based airline pilot. He and his wife went to see Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" and I posted his guest review on my blog www.themoderatevoice.com (and we got LOTS of great comments). HERE IS HIS REVIEW:
Tracy and I just returned from seeing "The Passion of the Christ". I thought it was an accurate representation of the Gospels. Obviously, there needs to be some artistic license when you reduce 12 hours into two. But, after all the controversy and debate over this movie, I am at a loss as to what the fuss is all about.
Yes, it is violent. But no more violent than "Saving Private Ryan" or "Shindler's List". In fact, Gibson provides breaks from the violence in the form of flashbacks that help explain why the violence is occurring. This did not happen in "Saving Private Ryan" during the invasion scene. So if you feel your children can't handle Ryan or Shindler DO NOT take them to the Passion.
I have read many commentaries concerning the last hours of Jesus' life. They have described the horror of the beating and crucifixion. So I was prepared for what I was about to see. Obviously from the gasps from some in the audience they were not.
There have been some that are critical of the character development in the movie. Two hours is hardly enough time to do character development correctly but when does a movie truly do justice to character development especially the classics. Given the limitations, Pilate, Herod, Mary, Peter and others are well developed and follow many of the commentaries to the Bible. Judas is a work of art. Simon is another character who comes to life as never before. But the best is Jesus. Gibson does not give the viewer the normal wimpy Jesus. Jesus is presented as a man of strength and power. He is not a victim. Jesus' suffering is a willful obedience to the Father.
The best touch in this movie is Gibson's use of the flashback. The flashback shows Jesus' humanity and his reasons for going through such suffering. In one flashback, Jesus is building a table for a rich man. The table will require chairs. This is not the norm in 20AD and Mary makes the comment that it will never catch on. The flashback to the Last Supper gives a visual dimension that will forever change the way one goes to communion. For me, the flashback that drew a tear was when Mary watches Jesus fall while carrying the cross and she remembers when Jesus fell as a little boy. Very moving.
I did not feel that there was anti-Semitism in this movie. There is more than one time when the fact most of the characters including Jesus are Jewish is made. The Romans do not look like good guys. The reason for Jesus suffering this fate is made more than once and anti-Semitism is not the reason.
As I said before, I really don't know what the fuss is all about. I have heard sermons that moved me just as much as this movie. Most people who have a problem with the Passion already have a problem with the Gospel. I really don't think this movie is going to bring masses of people to a knowledge of Christ as Savior. It will help those who learn visually to understand the suffering better. As for Christians, I wonder if this movie will help them draw closer. Only time will tell.
I left the theater with the same question I had when I first became a Christian: What are you going to do now? Knowing the price Christ paid for my salvation, how am I going to respond? Am I going to love my neighbor more? Am I going to pray for and love my enemies? Am I going to serve as Christ has served? Or am I going to simply become churchy and try to look good? I'm afraid that in all the discussion about this movie, how we respond will be missed.