Mel Gibson’s the Passion of Christ
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The review on the passion Christ basically represents what criticism state about the movie and what the writer thinks of this criticism. Day to the release of the movie the media raised a serious number of charges which had been flying around since the news of the release of the movie was made public. The accusations were that the movie was unhistorical since it missed historical facts, that the Gibson was anti-Semitic and that the movie would promote hatred towards the Jews. The movie is basically base on the capture persecution and torture of Jesus, expounding the events that that took place in his last moments. The scenes are full of Jews baying for the blood of Jesus. The state that the blood of Jesus will be on their hand and the heads of their children a statement that was used in the medieval ages by the anti-semantic campaigners who killed the Jews terming them the killer of Christ. The movies seem unrealistic because it is based on the Gospels which have a deficit in the reporting of the activities of Jesus. Such include depiction of Pilate as a weak person while he was very strong and very evil. Also it depicts the Jews as having demanded the death of Jesus and made Pilate to permit the same (Ross, 2004).
In religious context, the movie is moving to both believer and non believers. Many people have tended to take up Christianity after watching the movie. As a matter of fact, the Gospel account of Christ talk about the passion that is the core value of Christianity. Movies have been instrumental in influencing religious discussions between Christians and non-Christians. Clearly, the Christian passion is normally at the center of these discussions. In the recent times the movie the Passion of Christ by Mel Gibson has stirred several religious debates and provoked deep religious emotions with serious religious consequences (Kesich, 2004). Despite the violence within the movie that has alarmed many, many more wear impressed by the religious experience they got from it. Crucifixion which was a form of punishment that gained popularity during the reign on the Roman Empire of the Jews. However, this form of punishment was not entirely new to the Jew but was only given political perspective by the Romans.
The crucifixion of Jesus gave this for of punishment a position in the Christian religion and the cross became permanent symbol in Christianity. Death of Christ is considered to have freed his followers from such punishment. It is the law of crucifixion that St Paul talks about in Gal 2.12 when he says that we were redeemed by Christ from the law’s curse. Paul adds, in Rom 4.25 that Jesus stood besides sinful humanity and died on the cursed tree (Cross) for the same of humanity. He was put to death due to the transgression of humanity and resurrected to the justification of the very humanity. Prior to the coming and the death of Jesus Christ, earlier prophets had foretold his coming and his mission which he achieved on through death on the cross (Kesich, 2004). He is a suffering servant who chose to suffer in order to give humanity a second chance to reunite with God the creator.
Gibson’s movie serves as a depiction of the death of the Messiah whose purpose was to save the world as such the movies make Christians and non-Christians to ponder on the reality and privileges brought about by the suffering. Although it may not be possible to equate the suffering depicted in the move and what Jesus may have gone through, it is clear that Jesus suffered for human sake. He paid the ultimate price for the sin of man. The movies bind the Christians to their Messiah Jesus Christ and could also serve to help the non –Christians understand what Jesus is about and may even change their faith to Christianity. In this regard, the idea of anti-semantic shouldn’t even be discussed since the Jesus was designated to pay for our sins through death. His death was preplanned and he would still die the same way irrespective of the foul play by the Jewish leaders. The movie however spends less time on the issues of the resurrection of Jesus and this can be perceived as a deficient in this
The account t given by this movies deviates severely from the first historical accounts given in the century of Judea as well as the account given by the Bible concerning the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. To this fact some historians have defended the movies stating that Mel Gibson did not want to be historical correct or accurate. The crucifixion of Jesus is a plays a central role in the lives of Christians. Certainly the role played by Jews in this event and other related events provided a great foundation for the early perception of Judaism and Jews by Christians (Ross, 2004). The movie certainly gives a brief overview of the role played by the Jews in the crucifixion of Jesus as the gospel accords. Filled with false priesthood that was further corrupt the Jewish leaders felt threatened by the popularity of Jesus which seamed to increase by day. As a result they orchestrated his arrest by the Roman and formulated a host of false accusation. Jesus is tortured and abused by the Jewish mobs as they push toward his fructification and death. It is not surprising that the Gospel lays the blame squarely on the Jewish mob as the roman ruler Pilate symbolically washes his hands stating that he is not responsible for the death of Jesus. The Jews retort that the blood should be on their hands and the heads of their children (Matthew 27:24-25). However it is worth noting that the movie is not against the Jews and has not anti-Semitics inclination. Clearly the people who tortured Jesus brutally and crucified him were the roman solder yet no one thinks it is ant-Italian.
The idea that the movie encourages hatred of the Jewish people is farfetched. Gibson in his movie has two Jewish leaders who are totally opposed to the way Jesus is treated and openly criticize this treatment. Furthermore, Gibson expounds on the role that was played by Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus in carrying the cross. This clearly illustrates that many Jewish people were actually sympathizers to Jesus and clearly adopted his teachings. Also, in the crowd baying for the blood of Jesus are Jews who are sympathizers to Jesus. Also his disciples such as peter are Jews therefore laying blame on the Jew the way some historical accounts do is very unfortunate. A large number of those who criticize this movie however, perceive the role of the condemnation of priest as being both ahistorical and anti-semantic. This kind of attitude however would demand that every account of the Gospel concerning the passion be thwarted as fabrication. If the movie is anti-semantic that the Gospel is also anti-semantic ironically, the writers of the Gospel were all Jewish. The Christianity could be a Jewish hearsay (Ross, 2004).
That the passion is a true deportation of historical facts is not questionable. What critics feel is that the passion should have depicted history in a critical or academic sense not considering that some historical fact contrast greatly with the gospel. For instance where as Pilate was reluctant to prosecute Jesus, it seem rather difficult to believe it since Pilate was wide known to brutally crucify Jews and would have did the same for Jesus without the pushing from religious leaders as the gospel alleges. Some critics also consider that the Passion of Christ is more of an argument against the historical account other than just an expounding of the Gospel. Both accounts of the occurrences be it the Gospel or the other written account can not be exempted from bias and that it is difficult to state that since Mel Gibson ignores un necessary fact he is historical incorrect. And in such a case, if the Gospel if fabrications, and the movie is anti-semantic, then the whole gospel and Christianity as a religion is ante-semantic which is no the case. Gibson was not interested in making an historical statement or accuracy as evidence through his combination of the scriptures and other historical tests about the death of Jesus (Garber, 2006).
The criticism on the movies by different critics is baseless as some critics make statements that can not be supported with any evidence. Some criticism is even supported with evidence that has little to do with the movie. The most popular criticism is that the movie could spark anti-Semitism around the world. This premise is based on the idea that the movie portrays the Jews as being the solely responsible for the death of Jesus. They orchestrated his arrest and demanded his persecution and crucifixion stating that the blood of shed by Jesus would be on their hand and the heads of their children. Based on this many critics have termed the movies as being anti-Semitic but unfortunately they failure to recognize that those doing the bigger share of torture and abuse are Roman solders (Garber, 2006). As such they should have state that the movie will also spark hatred toward the Italians. Also, it is evident that the mob that is weeping of feeling pain as Jesus suffers if Jewish. The disciples and even his mother are all Jewish. Therefore, not all the Jews condemned Jesus. Also the responsibility dose not squarely lay on the few Jews that condemned him but also on the roman solder that did the crucifixion. The critics also make assertion stating that Mel Gibson did not wholly portray the historical facts as they were recoded. They however fail to note that although Gibson wished to make the movie portray the facts, he was not keen on making any historical statement. These are certainly invalid assertions that have no validity. However the are some criticism that are actually valid. For instance the violence in the movie is unbelievable, although it can not be said tom be the moist violent, movies ever created. Yet it is still not correct to assert that that violence is beyond what a human can withstand. Some apostles were whipped till their flesh fell of and left their bones bare yet they lived on. In the case of the passion, Jesus dies shortly after fructification an occurrence that serves as an anticlimax to the movie.
An art historical would definitely find the movie to be artistic the story telling form it is created. It is common knowledge that the scripture are unchangeable. In this regard the passion of Christ can be perceived are a depiction of the scriptures from the point of understanding of a person who had keen interest in what they say. As such the story doesn’t contradict the scriptures. Mel Gibson certainly had a commendable artistic interpretation of these scriptures and other written texts concerning the deeds and the death of Jesus Christ. He then used artistic logic and imagination to fill up the gaps and thus resulting into a thrilling product that has left man critics dripping of never ending criticism (Gracia, 2004). The defender of the movie regard it a successful piece of religious art. The use of a language used in the ancient times especial that spoken during the times of Jesus crucifixion contributes greatly to this artistic presentation in the movie. As such he employs Amharic for Jesus and his disciples and street Latin for the Roman solder because Aramaic and Latin were commonly used at the time. In addition the creative use of language, the scenes are filled with oddity, vitality and poetry. The actors are properly dressed in clothes that are specifically to depict the scenes of what took place during the last moments of Jesus. The actors perform their part artistically. Jesus suffers as he stager under the whip and the cross his face totally masked by blood. The supporting actor also perform exemplary, for instance the way Simon of Cyrene steps forward to help Jesus carry the cross their foreheads touching under the inclines cross indicate a proper directing to produce an exemplary artistic film. The performance by the Roman solders is also interesting and would have not missed the keen eye if an art historian.
Many videos have never been able to show great levels of violence and nudity more so in biblical epics. Movie such as the Ten Commandments were never explicit and was masked with religious massages. This was in many cases a product of the Hayes code the strictly stipulated what should be show to through movies and thus limited the extent of violence that could be shown in any movies although such regulation still apply in various cases, the censorship that was encouraged during this time is no longer as strict as it was in during the 1940s. Also, the present audiences are more open tot violence that the audiences that were attracted to movies during the 1940s. It is evident that Mel Gibson has personally made a living by staring in hardcore violent movies prior to the production of the sensational passion of Christ. While creating the movie though, he was aired that the movie could attract a rating that could kill the hype and thus denying it popularity. Were it not based on a religious theme, them movie would have received an “NC-17” rating. It is also notable that Gibson got rid of some violent scene in order to avoid that rating.
The fact that the movie is violent can not however be overlooked. By narrowing then movie on the last 12 hour of the life of Jesus, Gibson locked himself into a tight corner and it is not surprising that the bloody extravaganza is base of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The Hay code prohibited violence to an extent where brutal killing were never represented in detail. Gibson’s movie however presents all the brutality and flogging in detail. As such it can be considered to be totally against this code which is now considered old fashioned. The focus on bloody torture and brutality is so severe that it lead Gibson into historical inaccuracies which considers that the Bible to be an accurate account of the crucifixion of Jesus. Where as the roman solder cast lost for the cloak of Jesus as most accounts report, Gibson account present the cloak of Jesus as being bloodied by the time he reaches the crucifixion point. It is tattered into shred and it is unlikely that the roman solder can even fight over it (Corley, 2004).
However, concluding that Mel’s production is the most brutal production ever may not be entirely correct. The movie is filled with great violence for many to bear. Certainly this degree of violence could be passed as unrealistic. Though centrally, the passion of Christ is no the most violent movie ever made. Many apostles in the biblical time were whipped until their bones were laid bare from flesh yet they lived to tell and preach the Gospel. The violence presented by the movie can not be considered to be more than a man can withstand given what the other apostles are said to have survived. Unfortunately Jesus dies as viewer expect him to wraith with pain on the cross first. Mel’s Jesus dies leaving the others crucified with him.
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