Five years on, Gibson’s ‘Christ’ still moving, misunderstood

Posted by · 1:48 pm · July 10th, 2009

Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the ChristFive years have passed since the release of Mel Gibson’s extraordinary film “The Passion of the Christ,” a self-financed work that would eventually stun the industry, bringing in more than $600 million worldwide. There were gales of protest about the film, religious leaders spoke out, some for it , some actually against it, and audiences members wept, or walked out, depending on the person.  I can’t remember a film causing this sort of reaction from so many people. Gibson divided audience right down the middle.

The actor/director chose not to make a film about Jesus’s life but rather his death, exploring in great detail the horrors inflicted on the poor man as he walked toward a hill where he would be nailed to a cross and left to die a most horrible death. The chain of events is called “the stations of the cross” in religious teaching, but Gibson laid it out in near matter-of-fact fashion.  His faith was apparent but it wasn’t a propagandist’s work in the slightest.

In essence, Gibson made a film about a man who was driven.  He could have stopped but he pushed through this awful denouement to his life. I suppose that, more than anything else, moved me. The fact that no matter what happened to his body, whether it be scourging his flesh or beating him about the head and face, he just kept going, knowing his purpose, knowing his destiny.  In that way, the film could be seen less as a portrait of a religious figure than a tale about everyday passion, the will to continue, eyes on the prize, etc.  Who can’t relate to that in some way, however comparably small?

I have struggled with religion all my life, never believing in an “almighty God” that created us and knows our every move, but very aware that Jesus existed.  And I certainly believe in his teachings, his way of life, or at the very least, the depiction of same in religious scripture.  Was he the son of God?  Personally, I doubt it.  But he was something.  For his story to be told today, 2,000 years later, means something. Do I believe in heaven and hell? I believe something happens when we die, but only because I have to believe in that. I just can’t imagine that all this energy, all this knowledge and life experience, dies with us. With my wife’s terminal illness, that belief is even greater than it used to be, to be sure, but I do not believe we go to heaven.

Jesus was the original liberal.  He spoke about love, about decency, about all men being equal.  And he was willing to die for those beliefs.  I know he believed he was taking on the sins of mankind, and I know he was a man much loved, but equally feared.  It’s a fascinating study for a film, to be honest.

My brother-in-law is a devoutly religious man and good guy. He once said to me, “Why should I see this film when I know what happens?”  Without missing a beat I answered that all believers should see the film if only to better understand their own beliefs.  They should see the punishment this man suffered because we cannot understand that in church or Sunday School.  Gibson gave us a visual journey of Jesus’s final hours, something no sermon, no stations, no words can conjure for us. I had no idea what scourging did to the human body.  That moment in the film caused me to look away from the screen for the first time in nearly 40 years.  It wasn’t because I was sickened, it was out of compassion. I felt for the man.  Gibson brought out a strong sense of sympathy and powerless, observational sorrow.

For these reasons, I feel that Gibson accomplished something quite extraordinary with this film.  Imagine an actor believing in his project so much that he finances it to the tune of $25 million dollars, without distribution secured. The film is told in the dead languages of the time — Aramaic and Roman — and the violence is often gruesome.  Gibson went to work without the knowledge that it would be a smash success. He made it because he believed in the subject matter and wanted this story told.  Isn’t that a hallmark of any driven artist worth his salt?

I saw the film for the first time with the press back in early 2004, and I watched several people walk out, unable to deal with the punishing violence. A few days later I saw the film again with a group of religious leaders, and watched the inevitable solemn shaking of their heads, the weeping, the quiet mumblings of men and women deeply impacted. There were allegations of anti-Semitism which, in my opinion, were utter nonsense as the film was based on the narrative put forth in Bible as well as the known history of time.  I try to simply ignore them because they seem to come from a place of pent-up passion rather than educated criticism.

“The Passion of the Christ” was an astonishing emotional experience that I have never forgotten. Not one of the devout, I was stunned that I wept at moments in the film.  I found myself wanting Jesus to die so there would be no more punishment. As a film, it was superbly directed, acted, edited and shot, with stunning makeup, art direction and costumes. It seemed to me that Gibson had plunged his audience back in history, like the book “Live from Golgotha,” in which a news crew traveled back in time to witness this seminal event. Gibson gave us brutal reality, and in doing so, at least with this viewer, created the single most emotional religious experience I have ever had.

In my opinion, the film is a work of art.  And I’m sure there are those who disagree, so I am eager to have it out in the comments section below.

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36 responses so far

  • 1 7-10-2009 at 2:01 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Back from vacation and I’m met with some heady stuff! But, that said, I have to agree with most of what you’ve written here, John. I was always particularly moved by this film. I am in no way religious but I felt Gibson was working in very abstract ways to tell a fairly simple, universal story, and I think it was something approaching a masterwork.

    I don’t discuss it much because it inevitably leads to a discussion of religion that I prefer not to have. But I also maintain that this film doesn’t have to be read as a religious experience, so such a discussion isn’t exactly necessary. It has everything good drama is built on: greed, betrayal, ignorance, passion, love, good, evil.

    I’m sometimes surprised by those who share my opinion and, apparently, yours, of the film. Just a few weeks ago it came up in conversation with Bill Maher on Real Time. He was, to my surprise, a big fan of the film, and even offered the same sentiment you have written here, and that I also share, regarding claims of anti-Semitism. Gibson might have his personal issues on that front, but I don’t particularly think they were manifested in this film. It’s a straight-forward telling of religious history as we know it.

    Anyway, I was happy the film received the nominations it did, even if expected push-back from the industry was bound to keep it out of the major categories. I think it’s a fine film, one that I should probably buy on Blu-ray for that exquisite Caleb Deschanel photography already!

  • 2 7-10-2009 at 2:39 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I think there’s stuff to admire in the film, but it’s extremely manipulative. Of course you wept, it’s an hour of footage of a man being tortured. You’d have to be a pretty terrible filmmaker to not illicit a response with that. And the Jews in the film are cartoonishly villainous so in that sense, it’s either anti-Semitic or lazy storytelling. Neither of which says much for Gibson.

  • 3 7-10-2009 at 2:44 pm

    James D. said...

    Whatever floats your boat, I guess. I have never had such an emotional response to a piece that equates to a type of pornography.

  • 4 7-10-2009 at 2:51 pm

    red_wine said...

    The film is very beautiful, very well made. It did move me but that was more due to the harrowing content(torture) than the story. I’m an atheist and frankly don’t believe the story so I did not have any emotional or intellectual investment with the man himself and the film did nothing to humanize him, it just presented a series of events.

    The film eventually was completely thoughtless for my liking. There was no commentary, no reflection, we are just supposed to see the events recreated. But still its a good film, technically accomplished although it has low repay value. But I’m rather surprised that it got such horrible reviews.

  • 5 7-10-2009 at 2:55 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Cartoonishly villainous? I prefer the notion that they are abstractly rendered, Chad. Nothing lazy about that. You want lazy storytelling, you might look to the same director’s 1995 Best Picture winner, which I believe you champion as one of the best films of the 1990s?

  • 6 7-10-2009 at 3:51 pm

    Mr. Milich said...

    Probably the worst movie I’ve seen in my entire life.

    I actually fell asleep briefly in the theater during the beating.

  • 7 7-10-2009 at 4:41 pm

    BurmaShave said...

    I was struck by nothing in this film except the realization that Gibson completely missed the point of the death of Jesus, his life, and his teachings. He also really did lay on some troubling content with the Jewish leaders, even if the subtitles got edited out. APOCALYPTO is probably his masterpiece, because his sadism didn’t get in the way of his thematic intentions nearly as much.

    Anyway, looking forward to THE BEAVER!

  • 8 7-10-2009 at 4:42 pm

    BurmaShave said...

    I will say Mel almost had me with his final shot of Mary cradling the body. The best thing Caleb Deschanel has ever done. Then he had to go ruin it with the superhero movie ending in the tomb.

  • 9 7-10-2009 at 5:06 pm

    Leighton said...

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It was a labor of love that paid off for him. Even though I am what I would label myself as a Christian, I have great disdain for what is put out in the Christian community as “film.” It laughable to think any of that would be moving; it is pathetic and only about the message, which ends up being lost anyway. This was moving, mainly because every single aspect of the film was sought out in painstaking detail – the direction, the dialogue in the original languages, the cinematography, the acting, the musical score. Something labeled “religious” finally came to life and it was a work of art that split everybody right down the middle, mainly because they couldn’t see past the message to the art that was below it. This is what I find most sad when talking about this picture.

  • 10 7-10-2009 at 5:25 pm

    Silencio said...

    I find it artistically inspired, and very moving. But not because of the torture bits. I was okay with that. It was his relationship with his mother that gripped me. Especially the flashback scene where she sees him fall, and then sees him fall with the cross. That gets me every time.

  • 11 7-10-2009 at 10:18 pm

    Mike said...

    I thought the movie was amazing in every aspect, from the directing to the acting to everything. It was an inspired piece of work, and anyone who calls it “cartoonishly villaious”, “pornograhpy”, or “the worst movie I’ve seen in my entire life” is clearly just trying to agree with the critics or is an idiot. It was incredibly moving, and deserved nominations for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, and Best Picture (especially over crap like Ray or The Aviator). In fact, I think it deserved to win. It wil be REMEMBERED for so long, but I bet you can’t say the same thing abour Million Dollar Baby.

  • 12 7-10-2009 at 10:43 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Anyone who says “The Aviator” is a “crap” is either trying to disagree with the majority or is an idiot.

  • 13 7-10-2009 at 11:16 pm

    Eunice said...

    As a Catholic, I first saw this is in school for our Christian Values Education class. The cinematography is admirable, and I cried heavily and winced throughout the second half of the film, even knowing what was already going to happen, because of the relationship between Mary and Jesus. The boundless love that a mother has for her son is felt here, and it is so intense that it would just move you.

  • 14 7-11-2009 at 12:21 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    It’s certainly a very impressive film, one that everyone just has an opinion about. The craft is truly admirable but the end product is also difficult to watch. John Debney’s music is truly stunning, I have that cd and still listen to it frequently.

  • 15 7-11-2009 at 8:40 am

    AdamL said...

    I absolutely hated it so no surprise to learn that John loved it. Isn’t the old “this is totally misunderstood” defense only ever trotted out by people when they can’t understand why so many people hate a film they like? Maybe, just maybe, we are not all idiots, and simply hated the film because it wasn’t very good?

    And if you can defend the ghastly overuse of slo-mo in this film I look forward to it.

  • 16 7-11-2009 at 9:12 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    No one said anything about idiocy, Adam, but to be so negative with your sniping comment/accusation kind of leans me toward that consideration, when a more amicable rebuttal wouldn’t. Pity.

    Getting really sick of the people who want to come around here and just aimlessly bitch lately. Can anyone on the internet just give a point of view and back it up anymore? Oh right, of course not.

    As for the slo-mo (not to answer for John), easily defended. Aesthetic. I think it makes the imagery beautiful, an intriguing, focused way to depict something so grotesque but full of so much symbolism that deserves focus. That having been said, I wouldn’t even say it’s used too much and don’t usually recall slo-mo scenes before others. So how about you simply detail why you think it’s “ghastly” rather than jabbing and moving away so swiftly as you have. I look forward to it.

  • 17 7-11-2009 at 9:27 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I respect the film for its sincerity and sheer balls-out abrasiveness — anything that arouses such intensity of feeling in most of its viewers has something intelligent going on inside.

    With that said, I really dislike it as cinema — there’s something slightly self-congratulatory about its extremities that rubbed me the wrong way. And for all the inevitable controversy surrounding it, its religious agenda is nowhere near as interesting or completely articulated as, say, “The Last Temptation of Christ.”

    All in all, however, I’d say it’s Gibson’s strongest outing as a director.

  • 18 7-11-2009 at 1:16 pm

    AdamL said...


    Seems to me that the tired “this film is totally misunderstood” defense implies that those that like it have some sort of superior analytical skill and derived the real meaning of the film, which is why they enjoyed it so much. Those that don’t like it, just weren’t clever enough to get it – they didn’t understand it.

    That’s what it implies to me anyway, so if my comment came across as bitchy, I’m sorry but that particular line of defense is rather irritating to me.

    And as for the slo-mo, it bothered me immensely at the time, and is just about the only thing in the film I actually remember. I just recall shot after shot after shot of Jesus getting beaten up and falling over – particularly when he was walking up that hill with the cross on his back. It was like, yes Mel, we get it. He was beaten up a lot. WE GET IT. Doing it in slo-mo didn’t add anything in my eyes, other than 30 minutes to the running time.

    And I say this as a pretty big Gibson fan. I absolutely loved Apocalypto.

  • 19 7-11-2009 at 1:28 pm

    Zan said...

    I remember being required to see this in high school (such is the nature of a Southern private school) and feeling like Gibson was force feeding me the idea that Jesus suffered. I know that he did, but it felt like Gibson was taking many an artistic liberty to enhance the actual events of the crucifixion.

    In thematic material, like Schindler’s List, I only really need to see it once to digest it. However, if we’re dissecting it qualitatively, than there’s nothing that I feel would learn from the film if I were to re-visit it.

  • 20 7-11-2009 at 1:39 pm

    red_wine said...

    Zan, that is how I feel about it. The movie reduced Christ’s suffering to physical torture and thus the audience’s sympathy was only because he physically suffered.

    His emotional conflict, the thoughts of doubt and his religious suffering (like in Dreyer’s Passion of the Joan Of Arc) are left out in the cold. And the film really does not gain anything on repeat viewings.

    But I’ll say that the film is a technical accomplishment. Very well-made, rather surprising this came from Gibson whose other directorial ventures I find completely ludicrous.

  • 21 7-11-2009 at 1:56 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    I have to side with Chad and BurmaShave on this argument. While I respect the dedication and, erm, passion that Mel Gibson injected into The Passion of the Christ, it is a terribly overwrought, mean-spirited and manipulative film.

    The first scene that did it for me was when Judas tried to return the silver and it’s thrown back at him, slow motion and overbearing music galore. And scenes like that were all over the place, as AdamL pointed out.

    Or how about the comically mishandled scene where Claudia brings those cloths to Mary Magdalene and Mother Mary as if she was enlisting a maid service right before they start inexplicably wiping the blood off the stone where Jesus was flayed? I also HATED the scene where Mary looked directly at the audience as she was cradling Christ’s body. Gibson might as well have hit me over the head with a crucifix screaming, “See what he did for you!” By the time Jim Caviezel walked out of the tomb with that smug grin on his face, I was done.

    The charges of anti-Semitism are totally legitimate, as far as I’m concerned, with the cartoon villain portrayal of Caiaphas and the other prominent Jewish leaders while virtually all of the Romans (like Pontius Pilate) are seen as conflicted. I’m not sure why people keep staunchly defending this point as I just assumed Gibson’s DUI incident put this issue to rest. Oh well.

    Yes, the makeup and production design and costumes were all top-notch, but if you don’t have any sort of real narrative to back it up it means nothing, and that’s exactly the case here. Nearly all of the emotional responses are simply reactions to the relentless torture (in which case Hostel might as well be considered “moving and misunderstood”) or an already-established connection to the source material. It’s like what Ron Henriques of the Latino Review once wrote, “The audiences who praise that film enjoyed it because of their religious beliefs and emotional connection to Jesus. If you extract any prior knowledge of the bible or his story and focus solely on the film what you have is a movie of the agony and not the ecstasy; basically a guy we know nothing about, getting arrested and getting his butt whipped for two hours.”

    It’s not that I “didn’t understand it” or “missed the message,” or any other condescending rationalizations of The Passion’s critics, I thought it was a poor film. Period. You want a great movie about Jesus? Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ runs circles around Gibson’s work.

  • 22 7-11-2009 at 3:19 pm

    AdamL said...

    Excellent post Robert.

  • 23 7-11-2009 at 4:01 pm

    Walter said...

    Hamer – Hotsel *is* misunderstood, a great movie that not only illustrates the cathartic parallels between sex and violence, but also serves as a redemption tale, in which one man avenges the friend that he led into temptation, but could not deliver from evil. It is AWESOME.

    As for the rest, I was mostly moved by Maia Morgenstern’s portrayal of Mother Mary. The first time I had ever seen that woman portrayed as an actual mom, and not The Blessed Virgin. Excellent.

  • 24 7-11-2009 at 5:32 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Braveheart was indeed my favorite film of all time when I showed up at film school age 18. I just watched it again this week coincidentally and you are absolutely right. I feel similar about it and Passion now. Admirable stuff but Gibson can’t help but take the easiest, most exaggerated route to the appropriate emotional response.

  • 25 7-11-2009 at 5:35 pm

    Dan said...

    Very good point with the Latino Review quote, Robert. In order for the film to “work” for you fully, you have to bring into the theater a lot of prior knowledge about Jesus. Otherwise, it’s only effective in a “oh, poor guy…just put him out of his misery already” kind of way. Nonetheless, some of the shots in the film are stunning. Gibson is a marvelously talented visualist.

  • 26 7-11-2009 at 6:29 pm

    John H. Foote said...

    Good comments from Guy and Robert — respect your opinions because they were elegantly put together instead of an all out bitch attack — agree with Kris, too many coming on the site to go on the attack rather than engage in debate — if any of you think for a single moment you will change my mind about the film by attacking either the film or my opinion of it, think again — nor do I think by praising the film I will change your mind — it is a piece of history made with enormous courage and passion outside of the Hollywood system by a man who believed staunchly in what what he was doing — what a shame more films are not made with such love and passion (that word again) — and the man did not ask a studio for money (knowing he would not get it) he financed the thing himself, an enormous gamble that paid off, which must piss more a few people off — as for the cartoon Jewish characters?? Come on — are the two Mary’s portrayed as such? Or the disciples? Or all the Jewish elders? No. Read you history gang, read what is believed to have happened and that is what Gibson put in his film. None of us were there, none of us I remind you, and Gibson used the information at hand — was the film manipulative? Perhaps, but I didn’t find it overly so, unlike freakin’s ‘Braveheart” which was wildly so and over praised I might add — can I remind everyone bitching that opinions are very personal and maybe some of the immature folks pissing and moaning on the site should recognize that and respect that not everyone thinks alike and just because we do not does not mean the other person is wrong — film is supposed to, amongst other things, provoke debate and for a while on the world stage of cinema this film was the talk of the film world, and that is exciting — not a film dominated by car chases, or teens running from a killer, but a film with characters speaking in a dead language within a story that did not need the subtitles used — the balls of this guy Gibson to do that, and to live in a society that allowed him to do what he did?? A film of astonishing courage, honesty, realism and breathtaking beauty and one of the finest works I have ever seen. If you disagree…oh well…

  • 27 7-11-2009 at 9:51 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Just to clarify two points;

    1) I have no problem with you finding power in The Passion of the Christ. While I do believe that the dependence of the film’s supporters’ preconcieved beliefs somewhat diminishes the film, I cannot deny that those beliefs are meaningful to them. If Gibson’s opus personally touched you, I respect that and won’t try to take that away from you.

    What makes me somewhat more agressive in my opposition to this film were – and are – the accusations that are thrown at me (“too weak,” “too anti-Christian,” “too politically correct,” etc.) everytime I note the various issues I have with The Passion. The condescension and venom thrown at me from fans for my dislike of a movie has only been matched by Terms of Endearment and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It drives me nuts.

    2) I also happen to respect Mel Gibson for the brass balls he displayed making this movie. Everything you said about financing it himself to making the thing in friggin’ Aramaic and Roman deserves major kudos no matter what you think of the finished product. It’s sort of the same reason why I couldn’t bring myself to bash Watchmen on this site. Despite his horribly botched execution, there was something oddly commendable about the artistic choices that Zack Snyder made. Using another quote, this time from Roger Ebert’s negative review of Naked Lunch, “I admire what he [Cronenberg] did…and I hate it.”

  • 28 7-11-2009 at 10:47 pm

    Glenn said...

    For a movie about a man who extolled so much about love and common man and all that stuff, the film was entirely bereft of anything even close to resembling it. It w as a cruel and increasingly incredibly unpleasant experience for me. I’m an athiest and had initially chosen not to see the movie, but I did anyway and just found it so unenlightening. Boring too.

    I much prefer “The Last Temptation of Christ”, which presents are far more interesting version of Jesus’ story.

  • 29 7-12-2009 at 12:03 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “The audiences who praise that film enjoyed it because of their religious beliefs and emotional connection to Jesus.”

    This isn’t true where my case is concerned so it’s a pointless, unfounded quote. It’s been detailed here, I think, how the film could be viewed through a different lens. I also didn’t know squat about the stations of the cross and my girlfriend, raised Catholic, mentioned to me at the time that the film was a visual representation of those moments. Imagine that. I think it’s unfortunate some would rather pigeonhole the opinions of others in that way

    Also unfortunate is that it seems people take the word “misunderstood” as a slight when, at least in my view, it isn’t.

    “For a movie about a man who extolled so much about love and common man and all that stuff, the film was entirely bereft of anything even close to resembling it.”

    That’s because, at least in my perception of the film, it isn’t about the “love,” it’s about the commitment. In that way, I think it’s actually quite an intriguing companion piece to Scorsese’s film. That said, “Passion” never tried to be what Kazantzakis wrote or what Scorsese filmed, so to use one as a gauge for the quality of the other is also pointless.

  • 30 7-12-2009 at 12:07 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “The charges of anti-Semitism are totally legitimate, as far as I’m concerned, with the cartoon villain portrayal of Caiaphas and the other prominent Jewish leaders while virtually all of the Romans (like Pontius Pilate) are seen as conflicted. I’m not sure why people keep staunchly defending this point as I just assumed Gibson’s DUI incident put this issue to rest. Oh well.”

    I’m sorry, but “anti-Semitism” is too strong and a kneejerk. It just is. The film is abstract, so there are extremes rendered. That the Jewish leaders are Jewish is beside the point. They are merely the religious leaders of the community at the time. If they were Muslims, would you consider the film to be anti-Islam? I should hope not. It’s like saying Black Hawk Down is racist because it depicts militant blacks attacking white soldiers (a claim many foolishly have made).

    Sometimes I feel like these lines are carelessly drawn in the sand.

  • 31 7-12-2009 at 2:28 am

    AdamL said...

    This was what I wrote just after seeing it…

    I am surprised that some non-religious people can enjoy this film as I would have thought you’d have to identify with or have some affection for Jesus for the film to have an emotional impact. However there do seem to be people that are not particularly religious that were affected by and enjoyed the film so clearly I am wrong, but on a personal level I found The Passion of Christ to be badly directed, tedious, repetitive, emotionally stale and unaffecting.

    My problems with the film include…

    * A gross overuse of slow-motion.

    Gibson must have doubled the length of the film with his ridiculous employment of the slo-mo.

    * An irritating lead character.

    If a lead character in any other film said or did stupid things then I wouldn’t enjoy it and this was no exception. Dialogue like…

    “Forgive them Father they know not what they do”


    “Love your enemies”

    Firstly, it is perfectly obvious that they had a very good idea of what they were doing. Secondly, for him to ask forgiveness for their crimes is absolutely reprehensible. I started thinking about the end of Dogma – the bit where James Caan delivers his excellent monologue on how arrogant he thinks Grace is, and I had the same feeling about Jesus (and Gibson, for choosing this dialogue) here. How utterly absurd it is to expect people to forgive the sins of their enemies. Are we to forgive Hitler, Bin Laden, Hussain? Its just total arrogance and totally insulting to the victims of crime.

    Why is the guy on the cross to Jesus’ left told he will meet him in heaven simply because he says Jesus doesn’t deserve the same punishment as he does. He may have been guilty of a very horrible crime and this one statement seems to absolve him of that. And the guy to Jesus’ right, who is guilty of the same crime, gets his eyes pecked out by a crow and is presumably not admitted to paradise for not saying that one line. If only the criminal justice system worked in the same way…murders and rapists are free to go as long as they say they’re sorry.

    And what to make of the mini-earthquake when Jesus dies? Was it supposed to be some sort of comeback from God? You’ve tortured and killed my son but I’ve ruined your temple and caused you to burn your hand. We’re even.

    * Repetetion

    If you’ve seen a guy fall over in slow-motion whilst holding a cross once, you’ve seen it a thousand times and by the end of this film I really did think I’d seen it a thousand times.

    * The Score

    Ripped off from Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator score.

    * The Richard O’Brien lookalike who wandered around for most of the film and at one point was holding a cross between a a dwarf and Gollum

    What the heck was that all about?

    I’ll have to speak to one of my mates who saw it and is Catholic – I’m sure he can fill me in on the things that passed over my head.

    Anyway, I stayed ‘til the end but was very bored. Yes I’m not religious, but I didn’t go in with a view to hate it – I’m only going to spend money on films I think I’ll like and some good reviews from people I respect prompted me to see it but this was not for me. I’m not a heartless bastard – I have been affected by films in the past and many have had a big impact on me, but I just didn’t have compassion for, or get affected by what was being done to some bloke who claimed to be the son of God. The guy came across as a bit of a wanker and I couldn’t care less that he got tortured.

  • 32 7-12-2009 at 4:33 am

    AdamL said...

    *btw I meant Dogville and not Dogma

  • 33 7-12-2009 at 7:11 am

    John H. Foote said...

    Adam L — I wonder how blatantly goofy you look for making a comment like stating it is no surprise I like a film you hate?? Seriously dude, as a fellow movie lover (and I assume you are)think, THINK before you post silly statements like that — how can you possibly be taken seriously? One of the greatest things about film is that we all like different things, genres, forms and styles, God it would be dull if we all liked the same things and films — embrace the fact we are all different, and try and learn from the opinions on the site — seeing a film through the eyes of another has taught me so much and at fifty ( a young fifty) I have learned a great deal on the site, (and we never quit learning right?) and I have been doing this for twenty five years.

  • 34 7-12-2009 at 10:30 am

    AdamL said...

    Maybe I do look goofy but we seriously seem to have polar opposite tastes. You love all of the following. I’d rather chew my arms off before watching them again…

    Lord of the Rings, Passion of the Christ, Che. My grades would be F, F and F.

    Plus you thought Roberto Benigni’s award was “friggin’ dumb”, I thought it just about right.

    You thought neither Gladiator or Chicago even deserved nominations whereas I thought they deserved their wins (well, they were in my top 2 or 3 anyway.)

    We do share *some* common ground, mostly concerning Sam Mendes’ films, but so many of your grade A+ films are my grade F films and vice versa. Couple that with the fact that I completely disagree with some of your wacky ideas (make the foreign language film Oscar simply a foreign film Oscar to name one) and it’s just funny that two people can have such completely divergent views.

    So, it didn’t surprise me one bit to learn you love PotC!

  • 35 7-13-2009 at 6:37 am

    Silencio said...

    Adam L, it sounds like your real issues with the film are spiritual. The artistic choices are superfluous by comparison. If you don’t believe in extreme forgiveness, which is one of the ideas presented in the film, that’s your choice. But it is entirely consistent with the character of Jesus that they portrayed.

  • 36 8-14-2009 at 1:19 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    “It’s like saying Black Hawk Down is racist because it depicts militant blacks attacking white soldiers (a claim many foolishly have made).”

    As soon as Ridley Scott gets pulled over for a DUI and starts ranting about how “the negroes are the cause of all the wars in the world,” you let me know, Kris.