For parents who want to know what they’re getting into . . .

. . . the review of “The Passion of the Christ” is now online. As always, these fair-minded people walk you through the movie pretty much, well, blow by blow. Here is part of the summary:

While I understand Gibson’s desire — to show believers and non-believers alike the degree to which Jesus suffered to become the Christian Savior — he makes a fundamental mistake in the way he portrays it. Rather than showing the violence as realistically as possible — as was done to shocking degree in “Saving Private Ryan” . . . — he ends up glorifying it in what many will argue is a sadistically obscene manner.

The brutality, severity and, yes, sadism of the beating and crucifixion are shown in all of their Hollywood glory, replete with state of the art special effects and make-up as well as scene after scene of slow-motion footage of the atrocities. Again, I understand and appreciate what the filmmaker is after with such material, but it’s so over the top and artsy that it numbs and/or distances the viewer from what occurs . . .

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • JM Matkin

    I’m going to see the movie Monday, so I can’t speak from personal experience yet. However, after talking to the many people I know who have seen it over the past few days, I’ve yet to find anyone who would describe themselves as numb or distanced from Christ’s sufferings. If anything, I would describe them as shellshocked.

  • Christian

    My family (including my 12 year old daughters) saw it Friday. None of us found the violence gratuitous or glorifying. We did not sense any sadistic content either, excepting that of the Roman soldiers.