Leave it to the intelligentsia to debate the film's alleged anti-Semitic slant; if one judges what is on the screen (so gloriously served by John Debney's score and Caleb Deschanel's cinematography), there is fuel for debate but no obvious malice aforethought; the Jews under Caiaphas are just as guilty as the barbaric Romans who carry out the execution, especially after Gibson excised (from the subtitles, if not the soundtrack) the film's most controversial line of dialogue. If one accepts that Gibson's intentions are sincere, The Passion can be accepted for what it is: a grueling, straightforward (some might say unimaginative) and extremely violent depiction of the Passion, guaranteed to render devout Christians speechless while it intensifies their faith. Non-believers are likely to take a more dispassionate view, and some may resort to ridicule. But one thing remains undebatable: with The Passion of the Christ, Gibson put his money where his mouth is. You can praise or damn him all you want, but you've got to admire his chutzpah. --Jeff Shannon
I loved it! I was absorbed in the movie from the very start and it never let go. It was intense.
Yes there was violence, and yes Gibson didn't shield us one bit from the enormity of it. It is graphic and in your face, however it is NOT gratuitious violence. It was simply a portrayal of what actually happened (well, if you believe in the bible). Of course, I still had to cover my eyes at some points. (Interestingly, some movie critics who complained about the level of violence in this movie are perfectly happy with the senseless blood and gore of Hollywood flicks. Go figure.)
I found the pacing fantastic. The use of the languages of the day actually helped the authenticity of the movie. I think that was an excellent decision by Gibson. The cinematography was breathtaking. The portrayal of the Devil sent shivers down my spine. The final scene with the Devil and the final scene of the movie were absolutely perfect. I won't say more because I simply can't give that away.
The movie followed Jesus only during those last hours of his life from the Garden of Gethsemene to the tomb. Sprinkled throughout were flashbacks that did a fantastic job of linking Jesus' life and teachings to his crucifixtion. One could almost see his apostles watching the events, remembering what Jesus had said, and experiencing a mini-revelation, finally unerstanding what Jesus meant.
Another thing I loved about the movie was the excellent use of eye contact. So much was said without words. Like the rest of this movie, it was powerful.
Also, those who have done some research into the Passion will realize that Gibson drew from a variety of sources to flesh out the biblical story. Writings and from various Saints were used. There is so much symbolism and so much depth to the movie. As I said, fantastic.
Finally, all the "bit characters" in this story were fleshed out with their own personalities, constraints, hopes, and viewpoints. The Romans were not all carbon copies of each other. Nor were the Jews. And along the way, we saw characters touched and moved by the events taking place.
Definitely a movie to see, and absolutely a movie to talk about afterwards. All in all, an excellent movie that made the last hours of Jesus' life more real.