Sunday, February 15, 2004

HWJRTPOC? (please see below)


Jesus Christ here with a review of Mel Gibson's new movie about my final hours, The Passion of Christ.

Let me first off say that Mel has always been a good actor, a committed Catholic and a first-rate director. I very much enjoyed Braveheart, particularly the scene near the end when William Wallace had been captured by the English and the camera looked down on Mel as he was carried off on a board towards his fate, his arms outstretched, his feet bound. It reminded me of my crucifixion and I know that's just what Mel intended--I appreciated the props! It's important to find the qualities people have attributed to me to the people who are doing God's work in the present day world.

Anyway, back to the movie: people down on Earth are getting after Mel about all the graphic violence in the movie and I must say, I didn't have a problem with it. I really was whipped and scourged by the Romans, that's how they treated their prisoners. The crown of thorns upon my head brought back especially painful memories and there is really no humane way to pound a six-inch iron nail through somebody's palm and no realistic way to show somebody being dragged over cobblestone streets with a 70-pound cross on their back that doesn't involve blood and gore. It was 1,971 years ago after all, brutal times, brutal times, and I think to portray what happened to me accurately, you cannot shrink from all the horrible details.

The second thing that has garnered a lot of criticism for this movie is the sense that it seems to place the majority of the blame for what happened to me on the Jews. Now here's where I have a quibble with what Mel has done. He seems to take great pains to show Pontius Pilate as a conflicted Roman prefect who gets goaded into crucifying me by an angry and politically motivated Caiaphus [a Jewish religious authority]. That's just not the Pilate I knew. The Pilate I knew had dreams of someday rising to be the Emperor of all of Rome, but knew that he lacked the bloodlines and he was continually frustrated by that. Pilate was ambitious, ruthless and extremely intolerant of what he called "barbarian faiths", including Judaism, Zoroastrianism and many of the so-called pagan practices still common at that time. And he cheated at cards!

Pilate had a hearing when I was arrested by the Pharisees. I knew that God wanted me to sacrifice myself as a martyr for the sins of all mankind...I had made peace with it (my nerves at least partially calmed, I might add, by some of the "herbs" available in the garden of Gethsemane). When Pilate asked me to explain my crimes and answer for my sins, I knew he wouldn't understand my mission and that I had committed no real crimes. My popularity among the Judeans had become a threat to his authority, to his dreams of leaving Judea and returning to a position of more power in the capital and there was no way that I was going to get a fair trial or be released, so why waste precious time on pointless arguments? Anyway, in the silence, the chief priests, who were jealous of me, did have Barabbas released instead of me, but even if someone had stood up for my release, Pilate would never have done it, so to suggest that other Jews could have saved me and that an entire religious sect is somehow responsible for my death, well, that's simply not true and it has troubled me for almost 2,000 years. I feel like Mel could have presented these scenes with a little more subtlety and complexity, but then perhaps that was more than I should have expected from the director of Braveheart.

Overall though, The Passion of Myself is a very powerful movie, especially if you don't want to think too deeply about the history of that time and you just want to experience anew, in a most vivid fashion a potrayal of mankind as our most vicious, venal and conflicted selves. But I feel I must close my review by warning all who may go to see it or who have read about it not to judge their fellow man. That role is God and God's alone, because She (I don't know WHO started all that Holy Father stuff!) created all the heaven and all the earth and all human beings are equal in Her eyes. Even George W. Bush! Now that's a diety!

Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, agnostics, atheists, all the same, all red-blooded primates, all equally culpabale for what happened to me and all equally innocent. Remember that when you watch The Passion and my sincerest thanks for keeping my memory and words alive for all these years, even if sometimes you don't get all the particulars right. To all of you, Peace be with you.

Jesus also recommends: Heavenly Creatures, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Matrix trilogy (although not the last one so much) and Jackass: The Movie.