Monday, April 1, 2013

The Suffering of Son of Man

"You have heard it said you shall love your
neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say
to you, love your enemies and pray for those
who persecute you. For if you love only those
who love you, what reward is there in that?"
There was a man who once walked on the face of this earth. He was born with a purpose of spreading love, teaching kindness and planting the powerful seed of forgiveness in the minds and hearts of people. A man who is the central figure of Christianity and is known as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth. The final twelve hours of his life on earth before his crucifixion and the pain accompanied by the suffering that he had to go through towards his end are visually depicted in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (2004).
The movie beings with the Agony in the Garden right after the Last Supper where Jesus of Nazareth (Jim Caviezel) is praying while his disciples are asleep. It is obvious that Jesus knows that the time has come for him to make the inevitable sacrifice which he was born to make as he keeps praying to his father. This is when Jesus gets arrested as he is betrayed by Judas who arrives with the temple guards to capture him. From the moment of his arrest starts the inhuman torture that he went through right till the end. There are no limits on showing the cruel ways in which he was beaten and abused. You can say that watching it is a lot to handle but I guess this is how it must have happened. The high priest Caiaphas (Mattia Sbragia) who initiated the arrest and rooted for his crucifixion exhibited no emotions and did everything possible to put an end to his existence. I advise you to be familiar with the events that led to his crucifixion in order to understand the plot as director Mel Gibson doesn't show much about them. Jim as Jesus has delivered a splendid performance with less words and more emotions. His part as the sufferer is central to the movie and he has executed it with utmost brilliance. Mary (Maia Morgenstern) provides with a stellar performance as a helpless mother who has to witness her son go through all the torture. Mary Magdalene (Monica Bellucci) and John (Christo Jivkov) support her and share the agony she has to face. Like I mentioned earlier it's handy to know the events which led to Jesus' crucifixion to understand this movie better, for eg. there is a flashback scene in which Mary Magdalene first meets Jesus laying at his feet as he saves her from being stoned. It just shows the high priests throwing the stones away and leaving, the fact that Jesus had said, "let he who is sinless cast the first stone," is not shown.

"Forgive them, father. They know not what they do."
The Roman perfect Pontius Pilate (Hristo Shopov) who authorized the crucifixion in order to avoid an uprising might be considered a villain by many but this movie shows just how much pressure he was put under by the high priests and their supporters to do so. However, we could debate it as he shouldn't have given in and should instead have supported the innocent Jesus. His character in here shows how he had no choice but to decide the worst for Jesus. This movie will show you the events that happened after the Last Supper and if you ask me there is nothing but pain and suffering till the end. For Christians who know the story it will be a visual depiction of their faith and for the ones who don't know anything it is a story about how Jesus had to undergo unbearable pain and torture before his end. The performances are powerful, especially the one of Jesus as Jim does full justice to his character. Overall, this movie reflects just the pain and the suffering that Jesus went through and doesn't give a glimpse of the glory and the redemption that resulted from it. What it does show is the sacrifice that he made by voluntarily suffering for the sins of the people, the pain that he endured which will send shivers down your spine and the forgiveness he showed to the people who made him go through it, being a true Son of God which he is known to be.


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