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The Passion of the Christ

Forgive them, Father. They know not what they do 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The Passion of the Christ

Ambushed in the dead of night, Jesus (Caviezel) is arrested and hauled before a Jewish court where he is found guilty of blasphemy and taken to the Romans for justice. Pontius Pilate (Shopov) presides over the subsequent demands from the Pharisees to have Jesus put to death, but unable to find any reason for such a sentence, he decides to placate the crowd by having Jesus beaten. However, when this fails to satisfy their demands, Pilate decrees that Jesus should be put to death by crucifixion...

Although many will know this storyline, never before has it been depicted in such graphic detail. In the run up to its cinematic release, news and reviews focused on the horrific depiction of Jesus' suffering at the hands of the Roman centurions. Reports that several audience members were taken ill, with at least one death from a heart attack, testify to the fact that this is not a film for the faint-hearted. Some viewers will leave before the end but if you are able to stomach the shocking violence, then you will find a very moving piece of cinema with great acting, cinematography and production.

Originally Gibson refused subtitles for this film, after choosing to use the Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew languages but bowed to pressures to ensure the film was accessible. However, he could have managed without; such is the quality of the performances. Caviezel gives a powerful portrayal of Jesus, despite being silent for the vast majority of the film, whilst Bellucci and Morgenstern personify the anguish and helplessness of their characters with extreme realism. Even Shopov, as Pilate, the man who sentences Jesus to his fate, shows humanity in attempting to hold off the bloodthirsty crowd.

Mel Gibson staked his own money and reputation to make this epic, and has been rewarded with big box office takings. However, he has also been on the receiving end of some pretty fierce criticism and claims of anti-Semitism. Whatever your beliefs, it is hard to deny Gibson's efforts, and the power of the motion picture. Do not miss the opportunity to see this film on the big screen!

Alex Coe

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Autumn Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Autumn Term (35mm)