Directed by Mel Gibson, starring Jim Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern, Hristo Shopov, Monica Bellucci, Mattia Sbragia and Rosalinda Celentano.
Make up your own mind. If ever a film - or the coverage of it - should come with those five words attached it's this one. And right after them should follow another sentence: "But also remember: films are made to make money." And 'The Passion of the Christ', which has benefited from a whole year of hype, controversy and arguments is making plenty of it. As the Dallas Observer brilliantly concluded: "it is, ultimately, the most critic-proof movie ever made. It has two built-in audiences: the anointed and the appalled."
There's nothing that can be written about this film that hasn't been said already in the last few weeks. Far more educated and expert people than those who watch films for a living have given their opinions on the charge of anti-Semitism, the historical inaccuracies and the language use. Arguably the one opinion that hasn't featured half enough is that whatever attitudes - right, wrong or twisted - people leave the cinema with, it's doubtful that they weren't also in possession of them when they bought the ticket.
'The Passion of the Christ' could convince you that it's possible to think people should see a film but still not recommend it to them. The reporting of the gore and brutality has not been over-exaggerated and it is a wearying experience with only the briefest glimpse of uplift at the close. It is also, however, profoundly moving - that Gibson's use of subtitles and an emotional score are unnecessary gives you some idea of the power onscreen.
This is not a film anyone should want to sit through twice; conversely it's not one viewers will forget in a hurry. I saw this film two weeks ago and I think I've thought about it every day since. I've heard and read plenty, too, but nothing has changed my mind that the two messages I took from it were forgiveness and tolerance. Whatever about the film, hopefully you can extend the same qualities to this review - you really only needed to read the first five words.