'For some it will be an evangelistic experience, for others the film will simply be a violent story'
As 'The Passion of The Christ' opens in Britain, 'The Independent' asked a selection of film-goers if Mel Gibson's vivid account deserves its notoriety
One of the viewers, an eighteen your old student remarks, "The violence wasn't overdone; I'm part of the MTV generation, after all." One of the first times (the first time?) I have seen anyone saying that the violence was not overdone, which would I think be my own view. It is sometimes graphic but it is rarely gratuitous. Interestingly enough, another student interviewed feels the same way:
"One of the most redeeming features of the film is its attempt at authenticity. I realise it's obviously an interpretation and Mel Gibson's particular branch of Catholicism is quite obsessed with the physical sacrifices of Christ, but I didn't think the violence was gratuitous.Could these radically different reactions to the violence in the film be related to the age of the viewer? I had a birthday this week, but am I still young enough to be reacting to this film in the same way that students are?
"It seemed to be more of a moral message, rather than trying to repulse. It seemed to try and convey, then as now, that violence was the lowest common language of man and that's what came across more than just the thrashing of Christ's body. The violence didn't seem to get in the way. More than anything else, the director conveys a moral message of humanity and perhaps that might convince people to look more closely at the Scriptures."
I am interested too with another of this person's comments, that "It was really enjoyable, but I kept thinking to myself I wish I had a better knowledge of the Scriptures as the narrative isn't strong." When I viewed the film for a second time this week, the lady selling me my nachos made the same remark. Asking me whether I knew anything about the Bible, she suggested I would enjoy it more if I did. She said that she did not know who all the characters were and what was going on, though she did say that she still found the film powerful.