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The Passion of the Christ 2004

Critics score:
49 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: There are scenes in The Passion that will remain forever with those who see it. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: The Passion doesn't suffer from the airless, pious airs that drag down most biblical dramas: It has a muscular, pounding energy and lyrical, almost gothic beauty. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: In the end, one can respect Gibson's high intentions and dedicated work, while remaining spiritually and dramatically unmoved by the result. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: If I were a Christian, I'd be appalled to have this primitive and pornographic bloodbath presume to speak for me. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Gibson ultimately seems to be preaching to the choir, rejecting standard storytelling conventions such as introducing his characters, assuming his audience already knows everything he's about to tell us. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: This is a two-hour-and- six-minute snuff movie -- The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre -- that thinks it's an act of faith. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: This is the most powerful, important and by far the most graphic interpretation of Christ's final hours ever put on film. Read more

Phil Kloer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: This is a movie so singular, so intense, so overwhelming that it simply has to be experienced. Read more

Bill Muller, Arizona Republic: The basic message of Christianity -- love your brother -- is obscured under torrents of blood to the point of benumbing the audience. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: If you come seeking theological subtlety, let alone such modern inventions as psychological depth, you'll walk away battered and empty-handed. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: Controversy over whether it will inflame anti-Semitism guarantees huge audiences, and many people may be profoundly moved. But as a film it is quite bad. Read more

Paul Clinton (CNN.com), CNN.com: Controversy aside, The Passion is ultimately a movie -- and a masterful one at that, obviously the work of an extremely talented filmmaker. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: A film of artistic ambition and devotion. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Blood-soaked pop theology for a doom-laden time, its effect that of a gripping yet reductive paradox: It lifts us downward. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Gibson has made a movie for nobody, really, but Gibson. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Controversy aside, it is dramatically intense, skillfully constructed and often harrowing, in ways that should have an impact on people of any or no particular faith. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: A big, bold, nightmarishly beautiful film not just about the dawn of the Christian faith, but about the awful tendency of human communities (wherever and whenever in the world they may exist) toward self-preservation, intolerance and mob rule. Read more

Gene Seymour, Newsday: Mel Gibson shows once again that he's skilled at depicting violence. But you'd be hard pressed to find evidence of 'tolerance, love and forgiveness' that the producer-director-co-writer insists he's trying to communicate. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: Instead of being moved by Christ's suffering, or awed by his sacrifice, I felt abused by a filmmaker intent on punishing an audience, for who knows what sins. Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: Bears the same relation to other biblical epics as a charnel house does to your local deli. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: As a true reading of the Gospels -- the director's much-vaunted aim -- the film falls abruptly short. Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: The movie is a compendium of tortures that would horrify the regulars at an S&M club. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: The Passion of the Christ is so relentlessly focused on the savagery of Jesus' final hours that this film seems to arise less from love than from wrath, and to succeed more in assaulting the spirit than in uplifting it. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: Whereas the words say love, love, love, the sounds and images say hate, hate, hate. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Bloody to the point of gruesome, moving without being inspiring. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: A gripping, powerful motion picture -- arguably the most forceful depiction of Jesus' death ever to be committed to film. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: I was moved by the depth of feeling, by the skill of the actors and technicians, by their desire to see this project through no matter what. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: A very dour, pedestrian picture. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Instead of letting his reverence broaden him, Gibson uses his action-movie expertise to reduce the Crucifixion to something kinetic, literal and merely tragic. Read more

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Regardless of how you feel about the movie's message, you're certain to leave the movie feeling something about the movie itself. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: So obsessively and so graphically bloody-minded that it comes perilously close to the pornography of violence. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: What graphic sex is to the use of the body in hardcore porno, graphic violence is to destruction of the body of Christ in this Passion. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: [Gibson] has made a serious, handsome, excruciating film that radiates total commitment. Read more

Wally Hammond, Time Out: A negative and spiritually underwhelming experience. Read more

Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic: [Gibson's] film, virtually stripped of Jesus's incandescent views, is little more that a record of one of the thousands of barbarities committed by the Romans in Judea. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Despite controversies swirling around the movie, one cannot deny that Gibson has made a stunning film, beautifully photographed in contrasting dark and golden hues by Caleb Deschanel. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: Gravely intense and the work of a man as deeply committed to his subject as one could hope for or, for that matter, want. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: Less reverential than razzle-dazzlin', more an episode in the history of show business than a religious epiphany. Read more