The Passion Of The Christ
Boring, punishing, and lacking in necessary circumstance, Mel Gibson’s movie straddles a line between being a self-indulgent exorcism of his own personal demons and a story of the crucifixion of Christ that most people already have embedded deep in their own imaginations. In his merged-gospels telling of the last 12 hours of Christ’s life, Gibson sets a historically erroneous whipping scene as the film’s centerpiece. Two Roman soldiers cane Christ (James Caviezel) bloody before lashing him with a cat-o’ nine-tails that rips out chunks of his flesh exposing bone and gristle over his muted cries. Overuse of a bombastic musical score and slow-motion shots pose insurmountable odds against plot choices that are overtly mawkish and misdirected. Satan takes human form, as a shrouded woman with shaved eyebrows, following Christ’s every step toward Golgotha. The film’s lack of discretion robs the viewer of his or own conception of Christ’s crucifixion. It is an exploitative disservice to “the greatest story ever told,” that reduces that illustrious narrative to an extended torture episode.
Rated R. 126 mins. (F) (Zero Stars)