I saw The Passion of the Christ this weekend, and rather than adding to the plethora of existing reviews, I thought I’d just give a few thoughts:
(1) This is hands down the best of any of the many films made about Christ. It is, as many have said, exhausting to watch—an effect that is missing from most of the others.
(2) While there is much artistic license in the film, I found nothing that directly contradicted the account in the Gospels. Anti-Semitism? Aside from the crucifixtion of an innocent Jew, I saw none.
(3) I had been a bit hesitant to see the film for a number of reasons. I was intitally concerned about whether the film was breaking the Second Commandment, but but my personal study has shown me that depictions of the Incarnation are not on the same level as worshiping images of God—although the line is fine, and one must be wary of attributing too much to the movie.
I was glad to see that Jim Caviezel’s perfomance drew little attention to the actor behind the character. For most of the film, we see little of Caviezel at all because he is covered in so much blood.
(4) I do believe that this film is a good correction to Protestants who have de-emphasized the suffering of Christ too much. Certainly, Jesus’ sufferings are not the only part of the Gospel, but many Protestants rarely have such focus on this aspect.
(5) I like the fact that all the hype didn’t spoil the film. The intense scrutiny the movie received has given some to attribute an almost mystical quality to the film. The film, though good, is not mystical at all. It is powerful, but not any more so than a number of other films. It’s just a movie.
I remain convinced that the best means by which to communicate the Gospel is by the proclaimation of the written word of God. The Passion of the Christ is a good place to begin an inquiry or conversation about the Gospel of Christ, but it is not enough. As far as I know, the film never purports to be more than that. It’s the privilege of the church to tell the whole story to those around us who do not know. Let us not think that this film circumvents evangelism, rather let us allow this film to confront our culture with something that is missing.