<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d5529474\x26blogName\x3dDimmy+Karras\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dSILVER\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://dimmykarras.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://dimmykarras.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d2234159095245132931', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Monday, February 23, 2004

The Passion

Reviews are popping up of the Mel Gibson torture movie that is coming out on Wednesday. David Denby in the New Yorker makes a good case for not seeing it:

For two hours, with only an occasional pause or gentle flashback, we watch, stupefied, as a handsome, strapping, at times half-naked young man (James Caviezel) is slowly tortured to death. Gibson is so thoroughly fixated on the scourging and crushing of Christ, and so meagrely involved in the spiritual meanings of the final hours, that he falls in danger of altering Jesus’ message of love into one of hate. ...

By contrast with the dispatching of Judas, the lashing and flaying of Jesus goes on forever, prolonged by Gibson’s punishing use of slow motion, sometimes with Jesus’ face in the foreground, so that we can see him writhe and howl. In the climb up to Calvary, Caviezel, one eye swollen shut, his mouth open in agony, collapses repeatedly in slow motion under the weight of the Cross. Then comes the Crucifixion itself, dramatized with a curious fixation on the technical details--an arm pulled out of its socket, huge nails hammered into hands, with Caviezel jumping after each whack. At that point, I said to myself, "Mel Gibson has lost it," and I was reminded of what other writers have pointed out--that Gibson, as an actor, has been beaten, mashed, and disembowelled in many of his movies. His obsession with pain, disguised by religious feelings, has now reached a frightening apotheosis.

Not that I was going to see it anyway. Others will, though, and I can't fathom the appeal of watching a man be tortured and killed. Isn't that what Saddam Hussein did for fun at his palaces?

Andy Rooney took some shots at Mel Gibson last night too, asking, "How many million dollars does it look as if you're going to make off the crucifixion of Christ?" This happens to be an argument I don't agree with, based on my belief in free expression. Gibson should be able to make a movie about whatever he wants. I don't buy the fears of anti-Semitism either since I think people should be responsible for their own actions, rather than blaming a movie or anything else for their misdeeds. I just think the movie sounds pretty tasteless, and I'm confused by religious people who are so excited to go see such glorification of violence.