March - Comment on 'The Passion of the Christ'


For some reason I feel compelled to write this after the events of today – Saturday 17th of April. It is 25 minutes past nine in the evening and I have just arrived home after seeing ‘The Passion of the Christ’ - with Danish subtitles. I am sure most of you have seen this movie already.


I could not tell you if I enjoyed this film. I could not recommend it to you as quality entertainment. Although I know that this was not a film made for entertainment’s sake. I could not rate this film out of 10, out of 13, or on any scale. It would not feature on a list of my favourite movies, because I still cannot decide whether I liked it or I did not. The only thing I can tell for sure in my mind about this movie is that it affected me more deeply than anything has in a long time. I sat in the movie theatre curled up in a ball in my seat shaking. My heart was beating at a rate that I have never felt before. I felt like I had no breath in me, that something was choking me and I would never be free from its grip.


I thought I knew what I believed about religion. I was brought up as a Roman Catholic and all my life church and God has been in the background of everything I do. But I don’t mean by those words that I was a believer – quite the opposite. I thought that it was all just a big plot to scare kids into line – “you’ll go to hell sinner” was to keep people frightened and church on a Sunday was to keep people bored. Up until now I thought that I would never be a religious person when I was old enough to make my own decisions – I would not want to bring up my kids with religion thrust upon them as it was upon me. Bu now I am not so sure. Its not that I think this movie will convert me, but that I now understand what I did not before.


I have heard the Easter story countless times. Jesus is betrayed by Judas in the garden of Gethsemane. He is tortured by the guards and crucified. But this story washed over me without making an impact, until now. It was not the violence of this movie which had me shaking in my seat. I have seen far more violent things. But it was the fact that it is not just a story, something to have come from someone’s sick mind. These things happened. What made me feel like I needed to gasp for air was man’s inhumanity to man. The fact that this happened, not just in a story but to real people in a real place. The indescribable agonies painted clearly on the face of an actor were once on the face of a man. The pain was real. And man’s nature has not changed in the 2000-odd years since this story took place. Still we have torture, maimings and inhuman acts of violence occurring in our world every day. And that is what made this movie the most frightening two hours of my life. It happened – and it happens.


That is all I can say. I feel a thousand other things which are screaming to be expressed but I cannot put them into words. I hope one day I can put them into actions. I hope that they will stay with me for my whole life, because it is these feelings which can be the difference between watching something and wishing you could help, and helping. I want to be someone who helps.