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the passion of the christ

What can be said about Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ that has not been said?

I first heard about this movie what seems like ages ago and now it has finally made its way to the States after being viewed in even the holiest of holies, The Vatican. Getting the thumbs up from the Pope Gibson brings this epic tale to mass audiences and the controversy, and praise, is ready to begin.

As a believer myself, I can tell you that this story moved me to the core. Told with such, dare I say, "passion" The Passion of the Christ blends brilliant acting, directing and atmosphere to one of the most popular stories ever told.

Gibson took his time in creating this project, which he began almost 12 years ago, and didn't miss a single detail. All the way down to the language being spoken as all the characters in the film are heard speaking the languages they would have used at the time.

Jewish characters, Christ and his followers use Aramaic, while the Romans use, what is termed "street Latin." As well the costumes designed were hand-crafted and the cinematography was made to look like the paintings of Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio.

The Passion is undeniably Gibson in the way the story flows and his gruesome portrayal of the condemnation of Jesus to his final moments on the cross. This film is not for those with weak stomachs and I would not recommend bringing any one under the age of 17 to see this film as you will need to be prepared to see the nail being driven through Christ's hand and through the cross as blood flows from its tip, and that is nothing compared to the scenes where Jesus is whipped and tortured with a device made of several leather straps and each strap embedded with barbed metal tips, used to tear at the skin.

I can tell you now that I loved it and was almost brought to tears in certain scenes that will undoubtedly have several audience members reaching for their Kleenex. Jim Caviezel brings Christ to life and gives him human form.

But the difference with this movie is that for those who do not believe in the stories told by the Bible, or could care less, they will not find the same satisfaction. With the entire story being based on the four Gospels of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) there is really no deviation from the story that has been told through the ages, leaving non-believers on the outside.

Gibson has said that his ultimate goal for this film is for it to "inspire tolerances, love and forgiveness." Unfortunately for those that who do not believe in the message being delivered or the story being told it is going to be no more than a fictional account of a man they do not believe to be the Son of God. As for those that don't believe in God altogether, well I don't anticipate on them seeing the film at all, and I wouldn't expect them to convert based on what they see.

The Passion of the Christ is definitely a touching and deeply emotional epic that I will no doubt want to watch at least once a year to reaffirm my beliefs, but I can understand the views of those that disregard it as fiction.

The biggest question that flows through my mind now is whether or not this film will fall into next year's Oscar race. The performances and the film are no doubt deserved of recognition, but with so much controversy surrounding the flick even before it is released you have to wonder what would happen if the film industry's most hallowed award were given to, what could be deemed as the most controversial movie ever.

I guess we will just have to wait and see.


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