Reviews are finally starting to pour in for The Passion of the Christ. I have been looking forward to reading some of the reviews since to this point the vast majority of people who have seen the movie are either Christians or are at least religious. They are hardly able to objectively judge and evaluate the movie. Now, though, we have hoards of secular reviewers who will be writing reivews.
The site I go to for movie reviews is Rotten Tomatoes. They do not actually review the movies, choosing instead to simply compile a list of other reviews and assign them either a positive or negative score (a fresh tomato or a rotten tomato). With just a glance you can see how the average reviewer is rating the movie. As of this moment in time the site has compiled 25 reviews, 14 of which are fresh and 11 rotten.
Some of the rotten reviews are definitely missing the point of Jesus’ life and death. They complain that the violence outweighs the message of Jesus’ life which is to love oneanother. That, of course, was not his main message at all. If it was I don’t think he ever would have been crucified. Certainly the overwhelming complaint is that the violence is over the top, far beyond even the worst horror movie.
I have long wondered what the impact of this movie will be on non-Christians. As Christians we may see the movie and have our souls stirred simply because we have the Spirit indwelling us. Unbelievers do not have the Spirit so I wonder if they might not just see another murder…another man dying in a world where we see death on the big screen all the time. I found the following quote interesting as it addresses that point. “A film so narrowly focused as to be inaccessible for all but the devout.” Another reviewer said “With a pervasive NC-17 level of gore, it’s simplistic and relentlessly pedantic but effective with its single theme that Christ suffered. But where is its spirituality?” I wonder if all the hype from the Christian world about this movie being an incredible outreach opportunity will fall flat and this will instead be another inreach opportunity.
Another possibility is that many unbelievers will be moved and stirred by this movie – but only those that the Spirit is beginning to work in. Perhaps for them this will be one more tool God uses to draw people to Himself.
A friend bought me a ticket for the 1 PM showing tomorrow, so 24 hours from now I will finally be able to draw my own conclusions. I read all four gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion and intend to do so another two or three times before the show so I will be able to report back on what is the gospel and what is clearly not.