Controversy Fans the Flames of Christ’s ‘Passion’

El Vaquero Staff Writer

“Did you hear about Mel Gibson’s new movie?” “Have you heard about the Jesus film?” All this controversy over a film based on a very sensitive subject that may all-together ruin Gibson’s career. “The Passion of the Christ” tells the story of Christ’s last 12 hours on earth, throughout the film we see Christ speaking in flashbacks to his disciples and his followers prior to his crucifixion.

The film starts with Christ being captured and being accused by his fellow rabb’s of blasphemy. The rabb’s accuse Christ of lying and misleading people and persuade the Roman emperor to kill him. Christ is then dragged to the Roman Emperor Pontius Pilate who does not want Christ to be executed because he believes Christ is not causing any harm. But with all of the mobs gatheres at the bottom of his palace, Pilate has no choice but to let Christ be brutalized and eventually allows the mob’s wish for Christ’s demise.

Now, what has sparked such controversy about this film is how Mel Gibson portrayed the Jews in his film. After seeing the movie I can honestly say that the film does not depict Jewish people as evil. Sure, Gibson shows in his film that the Jews did kill Christ; but this is not the first time we have heard that. People have been told for the past 2,000 years that the Jews did kill Christ. There were instances when Gibson attempted to make the Jews more civil, such as during the scene where Christ was dragging the cross toward his doom, we saw Jews standing off to the side begging for Christ not to be murdered. Sure some Jews threw rocks at Christ, but what Gibson showed us was the majority crying for Christ, showing sympathy for Christ and trying to help Christ. Those handful of soldiers who physically brutalized and eventually murdered Christ in the film should not be allowed to represent the whole Jewish population. Those men were the extremists, who hated Christ and wanted him to die for having different beliefs. “The Passion” is also under fire from priests and other religious people because it is not entirely historically accurate.

The script was mostly compiled from the diaries of St. Anne Catherine Emmerich who was alive during the 17th century. Because she was alive in the 1600s, some churches have criticized Gibson’s film for not being accurate. No one can really say what events took place to actually lead to Christ’s execution, but what we saw in the film does show what we already know for sure. Christ was a carpenter who eventually claimed to be the son of God. He spread new ideas and thoughts and because of that he was killed.

I commend Gibson for making this film in Latin and Aramaic, not English. Speaking the original languages from the time period added more authenticity and made the acting more believable.

Once people dig through the layers of controversy of this film like I did, I hope they will discover the treasure of Jim Caviezel as Jesus.
As I watched I believed in the man, the lamb of God who was only trying to help. Caviezel has not been in a true cinematic blockbuster in his short career, but “The Passion” should make him recognized as a young but very talented actor. The agony in his eyes and the pain he felt in every step he took (while carrying the cross) sent shivers through my body.

“The Passion” is one of those few movies where I knew how it was going to end, but I still did not know what was going to happen next. I cannot blame those who do not like the film because their beliefs can be different than from what the film was trying to say. It may not be in Gibson’s power if he cannot stop the people who denounce the film as unfair or inaccurate. But perhaps controversy would be a chance for people to come together and discuss the life of Christ and try to figure out why and what really happened. In any case, this a story that should be told to all who are willing to listen.

Final Score: ****