Saturday, March 06, 2004

The Passion of the Christ

I finally saw the movie The Passion of the Christ on Friday night. I cannot say that it was a fun experience, but I am glad that I saw the movie. Good Friday services are not fun, but they still serve an important purpose for many Christians. Many enriching experiences in life are not particularly fun, and yet they are still worthwhile.

I think that enough time has been spent debating whether or not this film will stir up anti-semetic sentiments or whether or not it will bring new believers into the church. I do not have much to add to that debate. So, I will dedicate this posting to discussing the artistic merits of this film despite the fact that I do not claim to be an expert.

The cinematography in The Passion was breathtaking. And the portrayal of Satan was creative and powerful. But, in my opinion, it was the acting that truly set this movie apart. Francesco De Vito played a compelling Peter. Hristo Shopov gave a fascinating portrayal of Pontius Pilate. And, Jim Caviezel's portrayal of Jesus Christ was absolutely stunning -- perhaps the most stunning performance I have ever seen. Caviezel's facial expressions, both when Christ was in pain and when he was he in the earlier parts of His ministry, were absolutely unforgettable.

In conclusion, like most of Mel Gibson's recent projects, The Passion of the Christ is gripping and compelling and brutally violent. But, I have yet to meet a person who regrets having seen this film. I cannot say that I experienced any kind of a life-changing refocus of my faith, but I will say that after seeing the visuals in this film, I will never read through the passion story quite the same way again. I commend Mel Gibson for making a film that both theologically and artistically serious.