Tuesday, March 09, 2004

i saw the passion of the christ today, and i can't say that i loved it or i hated it, but i will say that it made me think. not so much about the religious ideas surrounding the crucifixion but about the process of the movie and what it accomplished. i came up with a few conclusions.

** to start, my medical-mind has a huge quibble with the film, and though i know it doesn't really have anything to do with the point of it, i found myself utterly distracted from the quarter-point onward by the fact that the violence is ridiculous. it is ridiculous. no one would have lived through that scourging. never mind the fact that the 40 lashes were actually 72 (i counted), when they dragged him away, there were about 6 units of blood left on the ground - this is certainly enough to send someone into shock such that they would certainly be unconscious if not dead already. if that wasn't enough, the crown of thorns would have certainly finished the job - the skull is one of the most vascularized areas of the body, which means that when it is pierced, it bleeds profusely. to expect that a person with that kind of injury externally (i won't go into what must have occurred as internal injuries) would then be able to walk let alone carry anything is absurd. and i'm sure there are all sorts of arguments why this doesn't really matter, or how God gave jesus the strength to keep going to carry out this ultimate plan, but i think most who belive in God would agree that God made our bodies, including the way they work. if jesus was, indeed, a human form of God, his physical body would be just as fragile as anyone's, no matter how transcendant his spirit. this may not matter to most who see the film, but it mattered to me, because i felt that the complete lack of realism in this aspect meant that the rest of the movie lost some meaning.

** i wasn't at all impressed by the acting, particularly jim caviezel as jesus. granted, he spent most of the movie bleeding everywhere and dying, which didn't exactly give him much range to work with, but overall, i was underwhelmed by the portrayal of the characters. the most impressive was pilate, followed by mary (jesus mother), though neither had a whole lot of range either.

** visually, it was a beautiful film. the attention to details, even in the areas of violence, contributed to an artistically stunning film. though the violence was disturbing and extremely gross, it made me feel things. i don't always feel things while watching a movie. but during this film i was in turn saddened, grossed out, frustrated, exasperated, and angry. not many films make me go through so many emotions that haven't been manufactured by plot points. i think that less could have been more where the violence was concerned, but that was mel gibson's choice, and i'm sure there are many who disagree with it.

** i found it ironic, given the amount of blood shed by jesus, that i saw this film using a free pass that i got from donating blood. i can't really recommend paying to see it (though i guess you could say i paid in blood, all pun intended) but if you have a chance to see it for free, it may be worth the discussion it can create more than the entertainment of something like "eurotrip".

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