meal, he would have made a movie about it.
Over the last few weeks, Gibson has received plenty of criticism,
especially from the Jewish community. Being Jewish, I watched the
movie with an open mind but a close eye. And I thought it was
brilliant. "The Passion" is a gripping, gory, compelling two-hour
horror show, with magni- ficent acting and excellent directing.
Everyone knows how the story will end, but Gibson grabs you from the
opening scene and never lets you go, turning your stomach inside out
in the process.
I watched the movie for its merits as a movie. It did not have
deep religious significance to me. I did not weep during the movie
and I did not pray after it. It's a different perspective than many
Christians had, I'm sure, but on those grounds, Gibson's movie is a
work of art.
Most important, though, it broadened my understanding of
Christianity. I've read the New Testament once, for a class in
college. I loosely know the story of the Gospels, but not well. And
while scholars have said Gibson's portrayal was riddled with
inaccuracies, his broad strokes drove home the underlying theme --
the entire religion of Christianity is based on a tremendous leap of
faith. The last 12 hours of Christ's life, the period covered in the
movie, is the basis for much of the religion, and there is no proof
that those 12 hours -- or Jesus' life at all -- actually took place.
Gibson took a risk when he decided to make this film. He had to
know the consequences. For centuries, passion plays were used to
incite pogroms, espe- cially in Eastern Europe. The Jewish community
had reason to be skeptical.
There are times when Gibson's portrayal of the Jews, especially
the Jewish priests, is disturbing, making them appear willing to do
anything to see Jesus dead. But his central theme is one of
tolerance, emphasized by flashbacks to Jesus' teachings toward the
end of the movie.
"Some say, love your friends and hate your enemies," Christ says.
"But where is the reward in that? I say, love your friends and love
Those are hardly words that should incite anti-Semitism, and they
are words that anyone -- Jew, Christian, Muslim, atheist or any