Wednesday, February 04, 2004

On the Passion Peace, all. Finding the St Blog discussions on Mel Gibson's new movie a bit contentious, I thought I'd import some opinions here. Here's what I like about Mel Gibson and his new movie: - I've always liked his serious acting, from the time I saw Tim and long before Mad Max or Riggs. - I enjoy an underdog achieving, including an action film star making and directing serious movies. - Mel may well have invested $39M of his own bank account in the making of this movie, but I suspect he relishes all the publicity he's getting because he knows it will translate into box office receipts. Mel is no innocent rube. - Not having seen The Passion yet, I have nothing good to say about it yet. Here's what I dislike: - As a filmmaker, Mel has painted villains very, very convincingly. The British come off as real scumbags in Braveheart and The Patriot. I can stomach that to some degree because though these films are about serious subjects, heroic people, and real historical villains, bottom line is that these flicks are about entertainment, not documentary histories. Sight unseen, I can perceive why some critics might not like Gibson's portrayal of Jewish leaders. But I will wait till I see The Passion before making a final judgment. - Little facts about the film make me wonder: the use of Latin instead of Greek (If I see a Last Supper with Jesus speaking in Latin, it will break the mood of solemnity for me, no question.), the use of hypertraditionalist apocryphal material to "fill in" some details, being the two that come to mind. - That in many internet circles, all one has to do is wonder if the ADL or other critics may indeed have valid questions, and one is immediately tarred with the anti-Catholic brush. Above all, I try to keep some perspective. This is a film, not a fifth gospel. Gibson is a talented film star and able director, not a prophet.

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