Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Sunday, February 29, 2004  

The Passion

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is the greatest movie ever made.

People can find fault with any aspect of the movie or complain about excess and exhaustion at times, but as a whole, the work is simply the greatest movie ever made.

If someone does not respond to this movie, it can only be for hardness of heart or a sad lack of imagination -- imagination which produces honest and true sympathy for the human condition.

As Gibson's vision of The Christ, it might be considered greater than any one gospel Passion narrative. It is not true to all of them or any one of them in terms of presentation, but it is absolutely true as an inspired vision of The Passion. It is as valid in itself.

It is bold. It has the boldness of the greatest art, and because it tells the most important and greatest story, it is the greatest movie.

It takes risks. Not every risk pays off as intended, but so many risks do reward in the highest degree that they overwhelm the places where some fail.

The faith of the director is so raw and painful that the honesty of it simply makes other forms of art seem strangely thin and weak.

Gibson shows us LIFE as it is. The sheer horror and agony of what God has done to us (or what we have done to ourselves by our Fall as some would insist). About Jesus, Gibson shows us that he is Truth; and there can be no mistake about that.

That anyone can come out of this film saying, "Jesus? Some kind of preacher who ran into tough luck. Wrong place, wrong time. Could happen to anyone, I s'pose." Well, that kind of response is identical to the Roman guards who dismissed him, too.

For the life of me, I can't understand how Christians and Catholics can come out and attack this film. Their attitude speaks of a betrayal of truth, faith, human sympathy; it speaks of an egotism so monstrous as to beggar imagination; and speaks of a callousness that seems impenetrable.

Maybe this movie might spark a renaissance in Christian art. I hope so. In any event, Gibson has created a huge audience for his work should he consider devoting himself to other stories that ennoble, uplift, delight and instruct people in Truth.

No other movie he makes in a Christian vein will be as big as this, I suppose, but people will put a great deal of trust in his work if he should seek to continue to develop works of faith.

It is marvelous that we have one production company now in Hollywood able to compete in the marketplace with the highest quality of work. I hope Gibson will build on that.

This movie is also the most Roman Catholic movie of the Christ imaginable, yet it plays well with people of all denominations because the Catholic perspective or influence is subtle and never objectionable. Mary, in fact, provides necessary relief and is beautifully handled as a character.

The sequences after Jesus' death were unexpected and surprising, delightful and satisfying, and pure, imaginative magic that worked magnificently.

This is the greatest movie ever.

Oh, yes, I never thought the movie too violent or gory. What makes it seem too violent and unbearable is that the violence is directed at a pure innocent. Many other movies are far more violent.

In fact, I kept hearing how the Scourging scene was too much. I thought it was perfect. There were many moments of relief, nor did we see every blow. It was also historically accurate. I often thought of Saddam's victims in his torture chambers during that scene and others.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 6:02 PM |