Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Friday, March 05, 2004

The Passion of the Christ -- A review from an unbeliever
Written by: Beck

The first person I had a conversation with about the movie, The Passion of the Christ, coincidentally, was Jewish. He had (and likely has) no desire to see the movie. He felt uncomfortable about the whole thing, what with the controversy over anti-semitism and all, and seemed a bit nervous talking about it, even with someone he knew wasn't religious. I assured him it wasn't anti-semitic, and gave as balanced a view of it as I could. The one thing he had heard of substance and brought up was the coddling of Pontius Pilate. Five minutes of half-assed online research doesn't say much about him that is all that shocking. Regardless, we've strayed from the topic at hand: what did I think of the movie?

I liked it. I wasn't moved by it. I felt nothing spiritual awakening inside of me. I was entranced by the sheer brutality of the treatment of Jesus who is brutalized from scene one until the credits roll (I wont spoil the ending by telling you whether or not Christ makes it through, don't worry). But I walked out of the theater feeling that I had gotten my $8 worth (and also that I needed to find a nearby movie theater that charges less).

Here's the best way for me to explain it. In any given movie, the director has two directions in which to develop his subject matter: breadth, and depth. By breadth, I mean the amount of topics, events, characters, subjects, and meanings which the movie attempts to convey. By depth, I mean the extent to which those given topics, events, characters, subjects, and meanings are explored, explained, analyzed, deconstructed, reconstructed, and, well, you get my point. Both take up time, so there is a trade off involved. The only way to have a movie which covers an immensely broad story line AND a significantly developed depth of characters, messages, and so on is if you make it 12 hours long (i.e. the three extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy--and even then, neither the story nor the characters are as deeply developed in the movies as they are in the book). Indeed, the only way to have both complete depth and breadth to a story is in written form, and then you wind up with something like War & Peace or Les Miserables.

The Passion of the Christ was not broad. At two hours and seven minutes long, it covers very little subject matter, and brings in very few biblical elements outside of the strict "Stations of the Cross" from the Gospels. You hardly see the other disciples, and the only person other than Jesus to get significant facetime with the camera is Mary (who didn't look nearly old enough in my opinion, not that that's really very relevant). Jesus is captured, Jesus is tried, Jesus is condemned, Jesus is tortured, Jesus is crucified. That's the movie right there.

But the movie DOES have depth. As I told a friend, for me, the movie could have been The Passion of Bob and it would have been just as good. People in life suffer. Some of them suffer horribly. Jesus, considering what he sought to accomplish through his suffering, should have suffered most of all. And indeed, this movie is just that: a movie about just how greatly one man can suffer, and just how horribly humans can treat each other. It's a character study, of sorts. The movie virtually demands that we put ourselves in the shoes of the victim and imagine it happening to ourselves, and as Answerman pointed out to me, the movie would have worked just as well without the subtitles.

The Passion is a movie that everyone should see once, because every decade or so, people need to be reminded of what horror mankind is capable of. Throughout life, we try to avoid scenes of unpleasantness and discomfort. Without reminders, we forget ourselves, and invariably, atrocities follow in our wake. Several days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, all the networks agreed together to stop showing images of the World Trade Towers falling. And apart from the live broadcasts and the HBO special which came later, never were shown the people leaping to their deaths because an instant death from hitting the ground was the only alternative to being slowly roasted alive by burning jet fuel. Now it's only two years later, but people have already forgotten the horror that was inflicted upon us. They wince at taking action, preferring to hide back in their secure feeling holes and hope that the rest of the world will just Leave Us Alone. Well, folks, it doesn't work that way. The world is a mean place, and there are bad people out there. Either you deal with them, or they deal with you. And that's the lesson we learn, if indirectly, from The Passion.

Oh yeah, and good acting, cinematography, and all that crap too.

Contact The Author:

John Beck

Feedback Welcomed

Greatest Hits

The Complete United Nations Posts
Immoderate Moderates
Marketing Myopia
In defense of the Republic
UKIP in America
Playing Connect the Dots
A Point So Often Missed: The Presence of an Administered Rate
Reagan Remembrance
Dr. Wolfowitz, or How I Supported the Right War Waged in the Wrong Way for the Wrong Reasons
Divine Right of Kings and UN Mandates
A Fantastic Idea, If I Do Say So Myself
Why We Were Right to Liberate Iraq
The Crisis of Conservatism

Blogs Worth Bookmarking

Steal The Blinds
Poor Dudley's Almanac
Protein Wisdom
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
New Sisyphus
Jim Treacher
Ace of Spades
Captain's Quarters
Rambling's Journal
Neolibertarian Blog
LLP Group Blog
The Llama Butchers
The Castle Argghhh
The Politburo Diktat
The Dissident Frogman
In Search of Utopia
Aaron's cc:
You Know You Wanna
Classical Values
Clowning Glory
Vice Squad
Hit & Run
Link Mecca
The Corner
Power Line
Michelle Malkin
Mises Institute
marchand chronicles
Enlighten - New Jersey

More Top Reads

SlagleRock's Slaughterhouse
This Blog is Full of Crap
Who Tends the Fires
The Bleat
Outside the Beltway
Small Dead Animals
Kim du Toit
Tman in Tennessee
Hog On Ice
Pardon My English
Mr. Minority
Speed Of Thought
La Shawn Barber
Right Wing News
USS Clueless
Belmont Club
Shades of Gray
Seldom Sober
Roger L. Simon
Tacoma Blaze
A Small Victory
Murdoc Online
Iraq Elections Diatribe
Winds of Change
Enlighten - New Jersey
Random Fate
Riding Sun
The Daily File
Matt "The Man" Margolis
Bastard Sword
Roller Coaster of Hate

News Links

Blogger News Network
National Review Online
Tech Central Station
The Drudge Report
Reason Online
Mises Institute
The Weekly Standard
Front Page Magazine
Town Hall

Affiliations, Accolades, & Acknowledgements

The Neolibertarian Network


Image Hosted by
"More tallent than a million monkeys with typewriters."
--Glenn Reynolds

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Life, Liberty, Property Community

Reciprocal Blogrolling

Accidental Verbosity
Conservative Eyes
The Moderate Voice
Perpetual Three-Dot Column
Sudan Watch
Mystery Achievement
Le Sabot Post-Moderne
Comment Me No Comments
New Spew

Links That Amuse the Writers

Huffington's Toast
The IFOC News
Dave Barry's Blog
Drum Machine
Something Awful
Cox & Forkum
Exploding Dog


March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
March 2007
May 2007
June 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
September 2008
November 2008
December 2008
March 2009
April 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009

The Elephant Graveyard

We Are Full of Shit
The Sicilian
The Diplomad
Insults Unpunished
Fear & Loathing in Iraq
Right Wingin-It
Serenity's Journal
Son of Nixon
Rachel Lucas


Site Design by Maystar
Ask not for whom the blog tolls...
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

Listed on Blogwise
Blogarama - The Blog Directory


Image Hosted by

Email Questions and Comments

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
eXTReMe Tracker