Now the contrived controversy about Mel Gibson's gore-splattered version of Christ's final hours has died away, let's ask the question. The film may be bloody, but is it any bloody good?
Well, it's certainly different. The `passion' of the title doesn't refer to Christ's love of teaching or his humanity, but to his suffering. Gibbo, it seems, doesn't want to tell a story of a life so much as record a death. (If you want backstory, read the Bible.) Jesus suffered and died for humanity's sins, this film screams. Here's how much he suffered and just how horrible that death was.
As an unsettling illustration for the faithful, it works. But as a movie, it stutters. The technical expertise and attention to period detail are impressive, but where's the heart? Mel is so concerned with showing the hellish exterior that he never offers a glimpse of the heavenly man within. As a result, Jim Caviezel's Christ is as distant as a figure carved on a cross.
The last temptation of the DVD watcher? To use the fast-forward button to speed up his slooow trudge towards crucifixion.