Power--Final Paper - The Passion of the Christ Critical...

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The Passion of the Christ: Critical Analysis The arrival of The Passion of the Christ to the cinema unleashed a storm of critical analysis. The film, a haunting and intensely graphic visualization of the suffering Jesus Christ endured during the last twelve hours of his life, has proven to be one of the most controversial motion pictures on the subject of Christianity to have ever been created. A June 2006 Entertainment Weekly article rated The Passion the most controversial film of all time. Mel Gibson, the film’s co-writer/director/producer, has acted in the famous Lethal Weapon series and other well known pictures; he is most notable for his direction of Braveheart, a film which won Academy Awards for best director and best picture. Gibson’s personal life is riddled with controversy. His father, Hutton Gibson, is a well known Holocaust Denier. Gibson himself has been known to utter anti-Semitic comments, such as one which received much news coverage in the summer of 2006: “Fucking Jews…the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” Gibson said to a Deputy who had pulled him over for drunk driving; he proceeded to ask the deputy if he was a Jew. Gibson is a neo-conservative Catholic who rejects the reforms of the Second Vatican Counsel. Such aspects of Gibson’s personal life have made him an object of criticism among Jewish organizations. ["The Passion of the Christ." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 29 Nov 2006 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Passion_of_the_Christ>] Although Gibson claims that the film is an accurate representation of the Gospels, certain Jewish and Christian organizations and individuals have argued that it is filled with both historical and biblical inaccuracies and that it endorses the ancient claim that the Jewish community as a whole was solely responsible for Christ’s death. Given The Passion’s religious nature, the professional world of journalistic criticism criticized the
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picture on both theological and artistic grounds. Three reviews, a New Yorker review by David Denby [Denby , David. "Nailed: Mel Gibson's ‘The Passion of the Christ.’” The New Yorker 01 Mar 2004], a Chicago Sun Times review by Roger Ebert [Ebert, Roger. "The Passion of the Christ." Chicago Sun Times 24 Feb 2004], and a Houston Chronicle review by Eric Harrison [Harrison, Eric. "The Passion of the Christ." The Houston Chronicle 12 May 2004], are examples of the type of critical analysis which The Passion received. Each contains distinct evaluative criteria and a unique point of view. Denby outlines his point of view early on. According to Denby, The Passion is a bad film because it ignores the spiritual aspects of Christ’s life. Rather, it is a “sickening death trip”; the film’s focus only on the last twelve hours of Christ’s life, on the violence which he endured, on “treachery, beatings, blood, and agony,” is an example of Gibson’s famous obsession with violence and death. The result of this focus, of Gibson’s stress on
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This essay was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course PHIL 337 taught by Professor Ryan during the Spring '08 term at Trinity College, Hartford.

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Power--Final Paper - The Passion of the Christ Critical...

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