REVIEW: The Passion of the Christ (2004)

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The Passion of the Christ: B+

While Bloodcrypt’s primary purpose has always been to provide a safe haven for closeted gay politicians to meet up with hairy bi-curious traveling salesmen, we sometimes like to post reviews of horror films. And one of the best things about reviewing movies is that sometimes you get to bring an obscure little movie to the attention of a wider audience.

While it certainly got lost in the shuffle of movies like Saw and Saw II, along with Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V part 3, and Saw: Look Who’s Sawing Too, a lot of fans of the “torture porn” genre would appreciate a film like The Passion of the Christ. It has everything you want in a film from this genre: beatings, blood, more beatings, nails through body parts, and Aramaic.

What sets this film apart is that it makes it a period piece. It all takes place in some obscure backwater territory of the Roman Empire during the reign of Emperor Nero. The primary victim is some guy named Josh or something (it’s been a while since I’ve seen it) and he’s being tortured under the order of Pontius Pilot. (What’s frustrating about the movie is that you never get to see what kind of a plane Pilot flies.) The tricky thing is, Pilot’s not all that into it, and he even does some sort of symbolic thing where he cleans his hands or some shit. I’m not sure what that’s all supposed to mean. But the point is it’s a bunch of bearded Druids (or something) who want the Josh guy dead. Why do they want him dead? It’s not clear. He seems like he’s pretty cool. Maybe it’s because they’re jealous.

Those of you who are expecting something along the lines of I Spit on Your Grave or its remake, known as I Spit on Your Grave, might be disappointed. Yeah, you watch as Josh gets beaten into a pulp. There’s even a part where they whip him, and the whip has little spikes in it which tear his skin off. When the beatings are done, they stick him way up in a tree next to a couple of other guys who are put up in other trees. (Why were they beaten? I dunno, but I think that this movie demands a prequel!) When all that’s done, you expect Josh to finally find his way off of it and deliver some payback. Well, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but they imply a lot more than they show, if you know what I mean.

Not only does this movie deliver the thrills while instructing the audience on an often-overlooked piece of history, but what really makes it great is that since Josh is Jewish, it really turns into a tribute to the Jewish people. The director, Mel Gibson, himself a Jew, clearly wanted to pay tribute to the culture of those who have been responsible for so much of what’s great about American entertainment, and he really delivers with this one.

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