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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 February, 2004, 12:35 GMT
'Violent' review for Gibson film
The Passion of Christ
Jim Caviezel plays Jesus
A newspaper film critic has questioned whether adults will be able to stomach the violence in Mel Gibson's imminent movie The Passion of the Christ.

The film has already caused controversy for allegedly provoking anti-Semitism.

But few film critics have had the opportunity to review it to provide a non-religious take on it.

Telegraph critic John Hiscock, providing the first UK review, said there is "little respite" from violence in the film.

The Passion of the Christ gets its US release on 25 February and comes out in the UK on 26 March.

The uproar from religious bodies, including Jewish groups which feared it may lead to anti-Semitism, has ensured it has continually hit headlines.

It is filmed entirely in Latin and ancient Aramaic with English subtitles, and has gained publicity through Gibson inviting Catholic groups along to see it, with many lauding it for telling the "truth" about the crucifixion of Jesus.

The Vatican also denied reports that the Pope had given his approval to the film.

Mr Hiscock believes the anti-violence lobby could soon take an interest in the film.

He wrote: "For, worthy and serious as Gibson's treatment may be, his blood-drenched depiction of the final hours of Jesus' life is harsh and brutal, dwelling almost entirely on pain, suffering and torment."

The Passion of Christ
The film has dialogue in Latin and Aramaic
He said whippings and beatings are shown in graphic close-up as Jesus' flesh is "torn and battered".

'Dignified'

Although not marketed for children, "adults are likely to have problems with the vivid depictions of pain and violence", he added.

Gibson has already reportedly cut some of the most brutal scenes.

Mr Hiscock's review reported that lead actor Jim Caviezel makes an "impressive, dignified Jesus".

But he said that within 10 minutes Jesus is being subjected to beatings at the hands of Jewish and Roman guards, while the second half of the film is devoted to the crucifixion.

While there are flashback scenes, the "respites are all too brief" from the violence, wrote Mr Hiscock.

He added that it was "difficult to know who would want to see a film this violent".

But he believes American audiences more comfortable with violence than sex on screen, and the controversy it has caused will recoup the personal millions Gibson has spent on it.




SEE ALSO:
Churches book up Passion tickets
06 Feb 04  |  Entertainment
Flak for Jesus film 'to worsen'
22 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
Pope 'did not endorse Jesus film'
20 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
Actress backs Gibson Christ film
05 Feb 04  |  Entertainment
'Faith' inspired Gibson's movie
04 Feb 04  |  Entertainment


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