This month marks the tenth anniversary of The Passion of the Christ. The film’s actual release date was February 25, but by the time the film came out, people had been debating it — and seeing it at special preview screenings — for several months. (I myself first saw a rough cut of the film in January of that year.) So I figured now was as good a time as any to re-post all the various reviews, news stories and op-ed pieces that I’ve written about the film, most of which fall between the summer of 2003, when the controversy was already in full swing, and early 2007, when a “definitive” two-disc edition of the film was released on DVD.
I haven’t watched the film all the way through in several years — probably not since the “definitive” edition came out — but it has been fascinating to re-read all these articles and to chart the evolution in my thoughts about the film. In the early days, I was very concerned about the film’s historical inaccuracies and its obsession with violence. But then I was asked to write an essay on the film for a book, and as I thought about the film and wrote about it, I found my appreciation for the film growing — so much so that, by the time I reviewed the two-disc DVD, I was calling it a “flawed but breathtaking masterpiece.”