The Last Temptation of Christ

April 24, 2012

In The Last Temptation of Christ, Jesus Christ is depicted as the prominent figure he is, but also a relatable character. He often seems conflicted about his identity as the son of God. For instance, he asks himself “What if I say the wrong thing? What if I say the right thing?”. This example strives to portray Jesus as a relatable character to anyone. Jesus wonders if his decisions and choices should be for the good of humanity, which leads him to wonder if his daily decisions and choices will possibly be monumental. Although ordinary men and women may not face quite the same dilemma, they are still faced with the factor of personal morality in their decisions. In essence, even the smallest decisions could eventually become fundamental.

The role of Jesus can also be thought of as one where he rises to the occasion to become the messiah. Although he often tries to convince others and even himself that he is a simple man, he recognizes that he is much more than an ordinary man He explains “Today and tomorrow I cast out demons and work cures. On the third day, I will be perfected.” In articulating the process he will be going through, Jesus recognizes the path to becoming the messiah.

Although Jesus is also tempted by the life of an ordinary man, he continuously follows the path he has been confined to by destiny. At last he begs to be the son that God wanted. Possibly best summed up in the following lines, Jesus states that “If I was a woodcutter, I’d cut. If I was a fire, I’d burn. But I’m a heart and I love. That’s the only thing I can do.”

The Passion of the Christ

April 24, 2012

Carla Pennolino

The Passion of the Christ Response Paper

            The Passion of the Christ (2004), directed by Mel Gibson, is a movie that depicts the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life. Jim Caviezel plays the role of Jesus Christ. The movie opens with the “Agony in the Garden” scene and ends with a brief depiction of his resurrection. Flashbacks of Jesus’ childhood and other important scenes throughout Jesus’ life, before the garden, are depicted throughout the movie as well.

I think it is interesting that Gibson tries to put a modern twist on an ancient story. Although the graphics, costumes, etc. are modern, the film is in Latin (translated be William Fulco), a dead language. The story is modern, but the language is ancient; this can confuse the audience.

I, for one, was confused as to why, if Gibson was going for a modern twist, he has the actors and actresses speak in Latin. Gibson believed that if the movie were in a modern vernacular, “it makes you want to stand up and shout out the next line, like when you hear ‘To be, or not to be’ and you instinctively say to yourself, ‘that is the question.’”

After reading this quote from Mel Gibson, it was easier to understand just why he chose to integrate modern and ancient ways. The story of Jesus’ crucifixion has been told so many times in so many different ways that, at times, it becomes almost cliché. Gibson tries to break away from this cliché, making the Passion of the Christ a groundbreaking and successful film.

One of the most sentimental scenes in the movie is the “Whipping Scene (Third Day). Gibson portrays Jesus in chains, emaciated and a mess. He portrays the Romans as ruthless, insensitive barbarians who are laughing about Jesus’ condition. When Jesus’ garments are removed, it is chilling to see the open wounds all over his body. The Romans are extremely rough when chaining Jesus down and even go as far as testing if the whips are “good enough,” laughing the entire time. One can see the hurt, pain and hatred in Jesus’ eyes when he looks up at them. As they are stretching and preparing for the violence, Jesus stands there without a fight. As he utters: “My hear is ready, Father…,” one cannot help but feel the pain and strength flowing through his body. It is disturbing to see how much force is behind the whipping and Jesus convulsing in pain. As the other Romans look on, one cannot detect an ounce of sympathy from any of them. Their stares are cold.

When Jesus stands back up after falling from being whipped, the Romans look on with anger and grab chains with spikes attached instead of whips. Jesus is in so much pain and his family and friends look on, petrified and crying as the Romans laugh as his misery and pain. The scene ends with Jesus laying on the floor in his own pool of blood, exhausted and wounded beyond belief.

This scene is modern twist on the ancient scene. No other movie depicted this scene in all its goriness. As well as being groundbreaking, it is heart wrenching. Gibson helps his audience understand the real, un-denying “passion” behind Jesus’ last twelve hours, hence the movie title.


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