After all the controversy and rigorous debate has subsided, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ will remain a force to be reckoned with. In the final analysis, "Gibson's Folly" is an act of personal bravery and commitment on the part of its director, who self-financed this $25-30 million production to preserve his artistic goal of creating the Passion of Christ ("Passion" in this context meaning "suffering") as a quite literal, in-your-face interpretation of the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus, scripted almost directly from the gospels (and spoken in Aramaic and Latin with a relative minimum of subtitles) and presented as a relentless, 126-minute ordeal of torture and crucifixion. For Christians and non-Christians alike, this film does not "entertain," and it's not a film that one can "like" or "dislike" in any conventional sense. (It is also emphatically not a film for children or the weak of heart.) Rather, The Passion is a cinematic experience that serves an almost singular purpose: to show the scourging and death of Jesus Christ in such horrifically graphic detail (with Gibson's own hand pounding the nails in the cross) that even non-believers may feel a twinge of sorrow and culpability in witnessing the final moments of the Son of God, played by Jim Caviezel in a performance that's not so much acting as a willful act of submission, so intense that some will weep not only for Christ, but for Caviezel's unparalleled test of endurance. 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
Do you really believe that one man can bear the full burden of sin?
Shelter me, O Lord. I trust in you. In you I take refuge.
No one man can carry this burden, I tell you. It is far too heavy. Saving their souls is too costly. No one. Ever. No. Never.
Father, you can do all things. If it is possible, let this chalice pass from me... But let your will be done, not mine.
Who is your father? Who are you?
What is truth, Claudia? Do you hear it, recognize it when it is spoken?
Yes, I do. Don't you?
How? Can you tell me?
If you will not hear the truth, no one can tell you.
Truth... do you want to know what my truth is, Claudia? I've been putting down rebellions in this rotten outpost for eleven years. If I don't condemn this man I know Caiphas will start a rebellion. If I do condemn him, then his followers may. Either way, there will be bloodshed. Caeser has warned me, Claudia. Warned me twice. He swore that the next time the blood would be mine. That is my truth!
They say you're a king. Where is this kingdom of yours? What line of kings do you descend from? Speak up! You're just the son of some obscure carpenter, no? Some say you're Elijah, but he was carried off to Heaven in a chariot! Why don't you say something? You've been brought here as a blasphemer! What do you say to that? Defend yourself.
I have spoken openly to everyone. I've taught in the temple where we all gathered. Ask those who have heard what I have to say.
Is that how you address the high Priest? With arrogance?
If I have spoken evil, tell me what evil I have said. But if not, why do you hit me?
Yes, we'll listen to those that have heard your blashpemies. Good! Let's hear them!
He cures the sick by magic! With the help of devils! I've seen it. He casts out devils, with the help of devils.
He calls himself the king of the Jews!
No, he calls himself the Son of God! He said he would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days!
Worse! He claims he's the Bread of Life! And if we don't eat his flesh or drink his blood we won't inherit eternal life.
Silence! You're all under this man's spell. Either offer proof of his wrongdoing or be quiet!
This entire proceeding is an outrage. All I've heard from these "witnesses" is mindless contradiction!
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