The Passion 'recut'

Cast: Jim Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Maia Morgenstern
Director: Mel Gibson
Certificate: US 2004, cert 15, rt 118 mins,

A timely release in Easter Week of the biggest Box Office hit of all time The Passion, this time in a ‘softer’ version. Mel Gibson’s hard-hitting portrayal of the life and death of Jesus came out over a year ago and grossed over $600 million at the Box Office merely because it encouraged people who wouldn’t go near a cinema but who had religion, to come out of curiosity if nothing else.

For many, Gibson’s gritty portrayal of the life of Jesus hit the mark. Jim Caviezel makes a brilliant Jesus, Hristo Naumov Shopov is good as a reluctant Pontius Pilate and the women Monica Belluci and Maia Morgenstern gave strong performances as Mary Magdalene and Mary.

The film was also unflinching in its portrayal of the brutality Jesus would have suffered at the hands of his Roman oppressors both after capture and on the way to crucifixion and for some, that brutality was merely a shocking realism, the best depiction of what Jesus had to go through.

For some though the violence was too much and getting that feedback, director Mel Gibson opted to make a softer 15 certificate version, commenting : “I hope to cater to those people that perhaps might not have seen the original because of its intensity or brutality.” Difficult to wonder who might not have seen it yet given the Box Office take but younger people must have been thwarted, its true.

Thus we have The Passion Recut, just 6 minutes shorter than the original. It’s a reasonable adaptation of the Christian story, paying particularly good attention to the detail of the Gospels (most resembling the gospel according to St Luke), using the different languages spoken at the time – such as Aramaic for example and then there’s Jim Caviezel putting his heart and soul into the role of Jesus. It’s a memorable portrayal.

Matt Arnoldi

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