The Passion of the Christ
Review by Ross Anthony

It's not a perfect film, but it certainly feels inspired.

Starting off rather awkwardly: that hard night while the disciples sleep, Jesus agonizes over the necessarily caustic events soon to befall, then a hokey cut to an indifferent moon. The film's pace is slow, and occasionally, even the talking heads are shot in slow mo. It takes some time for the viewer to fall into that dream-slow step. Full of close shots, reaction expressions, and subtext, we witness Jesus withstand the greatest cruelties humanity has to offer, until his human body can no longer stand at all. The whipping, cutting, stabbing, punching, thorn-crowning, and stake-driving crucifixion is all very graphic. Likely more graphic than any other telling to date.

This is not a film with some harsh violence. It is a rumination of that violence -- more of a study than a cinematic drama. Throughout history there have been those who have nobly endured incomprehensible persecution for their beliefs in others or themselves. Whether you call Jesus the Messiah, or an inspired man, or mythic character, how could you not be moved by this endurance, this persevering belief? The trunk of the film is Jesus' body being slashed and smashed, his slow moving legs carrying an unmercifully heavy logged cross. Yes, there are peaceful flashbacks to the "better" preaching days, but they are used to heighten the current pain of betrayal.

There's a great deal to learn here, no matter your faith. Are you a high priest that seeks to squelch that which challenges you? Are you the fair governor trying to keep peace, at the cost of your own beliefs? Are you the follower, who, upon realizing that your following has an aftertaste of insecurity, of powerlessness, picks up the stones and casts them at the one you called leader?

A hard strong heart gives this B+ production a nudge into the A- range. In short, "Passion" is an inspiring film, no matter what your faith.

Great performances by Jim Caviezal (I loved him in "Frequency") and Hristo Naumov Shopov as Pontius Pilate. Maia Morgenstern seems a bit young as mother Mary, but delivers big in the forlorn look department.

(This film viewed at a Krikorian Theatre to sold out audiences.)

(Btw, if you like a rather rugged story with some inspirational kick try "Eddie Johnson's Ark" -- a modern day Noah's Ark by Ross Anthony: Click Here then scroll down.)

  • The Passion of the Christ. Copyright © 2004. Rated R. 126 minutes.
  • Starring Jim Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern, Monica Bellucci, Rosalinda Celantano, Mattia Sbragia, Hristo Naumov Shopov, Claudia Gerini, Luca Lionello.
  • Directed by Mel Gibson.
  • Screenplay by Mel Gibson, Benedict Fitzgerald.
  • Produced by Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey, Steve McEveety at Newmarket/Icon.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)

Copyright © 1998-2019 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:00:23 PDT