Archive for February, 2010

THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, Mel Gibson (2004)

Posted in Biopic, Drama with tags , , on February 23, 2010 by Toi Brownstone

I’m positive Mel Gibson wanted to do something meaningful for the religion he’s declared to have so much faith in. Thus, he delivered The Passion of the Christ, focused on the agony Christ suffered as his ultimate sacrifice for saving the human kind. We’ve seen many adaptations on his life and miracles, why was this one accompanied by so much controversy? Was it because of the explicit scenes or because everybody knows Gibson’s social and political attitudes and was to be punished? 

Guess it’s not necessary to focus on the plot, Gibson portraits the latest hours of Jesus (Jim Caviezel), after the last supper, when he’s betrayed by Juda, to his last breath and resurrection, only interrupted by few flashbacks. Devil has its place, as the temptation surrounding Jesus, waiting for him to fail to God’s will. 

It’s obvious for me that Gibson’s main aim by this film was to recover people’s faith in God and His son, showing a cruel view of Jesus’ huge sacrifice, him as the ultimate martyr. This film is pure Catholic propaganda, however, because of the explicit content, everybody rejected it, labeling it as a gore film. 

The truth it that The Passion of the Christ is tough, but it’s an adaptation of a story accepted worldwide, then why such criticism? I can understand old people can’t stand the view of Jesus beaten almost to death, they are easily affected and have lived these values in a more delicate and innocent way, not really aware about such suffering. But nowadays, feeling scandalized by torture on a movie when you switch on TV and always find terrorist acts, people torture for real, murder, violence enough to get depressed? What’s the difference? The answer is that people suffering for real are anonymous and Jesus is a symbol. 

I don’t question if Jesus really existed, but I understand he’s a figure for many, but it’s shocking how idealized his Death has become. For God’s sake, he was nailed to a cross and hang out to die, that’s not the ideal of death I have in my mind. Did Gibson recreate on torture? Sure, I could feel in my stomach a knot with every lash Jesus received. What was his purpose? Just to show everybody he received capital punishment totally unfair, being Jesus an innocent guy whose only guilt was to spread the message that people were not alone, that God was there, aware of their suffering, and that we had to love each other and stop treating our neighbor like an animal. 

Anyway, portraying Christ is a difficult task, vision of him is very narrow and whenever violence or sex are being linked to him, critics and general public jump over the film fiercely…remember The Last Temptation of Christ before? It happened exactly the same. People are so narrow minded, we can only conceive Jesus as the Good Shepherd, pure, cast and humble. Sorry, but this is the typical attitude and vision I was learnt to live at school that as soon as I started growing up didn’t embrace any longer. Reality is tough, raw and cruel, so is the story of Jesus.

THE ROAD, John Hillcoat (2009)

Posted in Drama, Sci-Fi with tags , , on February 7, 2010 by Toi Brownstone

Since the last Cronenberg’s movies on which Viggo Mortensen has been the lead role, I try to follow his track and check what’s he’s doing. It’s not that I 100% trust his movies but sure I like his performances.

I heard of The Road by chance and watched it few weeks ago. What I didn’t know is that it’s based on a novel written by Cormac McCarthy, which has become a massive best seller and everybody is crazy about this book, even Charlize Theron got a small role for she had already worked with the director and because she fell in love with the story.

Few famous actors participate on this production although no one, apart from Viggo Mortensen and his fictional kid Kodi Smit-McPhee, is a predominant character, as if to support the story, for their roles could played by unknown actors without changing the effect of the film.

Well, The Road is a dark and pessimistic story of a father and his son, a desperate journey towards the coast  with the hope things will be better there and they will be able to start a new life out of the misery and emptiness the world has become, after a catastrophic sort of  apocalypse which left the world reduced to ashes and darkness.

Civilization, as was formerly known, has long disappeared , common resources have run out, and the daily routine has become an extreme survival exercise, searching for food and shelter. It’s like world was only inhabited by homeless people. There are no longer values, and many people in organized armed groups haunt other human beings for feeding so to survive, so nobody can trust no one.

With just a small pistol loaded with just two bullets, to be used in case of emergency, basically to blow their brains in an extreme situation, father and son will look forward to what they think could be a new beginning.

This is a great story for sure. I’ve got captured by the aesthetics, the pessimistic tone and the sadness involved.

Mortensen’s responsibility towards his son, once his wife has committed suicide, is both a burden and  a target, a living mark which leads where to follow day after day. The kid, educated with no external influence, has learnt good values, affection, goodness, piety…however doesn’t know anything about the mankind cruelty, envy nor betrayal, which seem to have taken control over the world. The kid tries his father be good, and his ingenuity sometimes brings them out to tough and dangerous situations. On the other hand love is the main reason for the man to stand by his son, love will encourage him to keep on walking towards the coast, for he wants something good to happen to the kid, who was born during the cataclysm or whatever that occurred to the world. He wants his son to know the sea, feel the fresh air and enjoy the sunlight.

Very evocative and very dramatic, while watching the movie you might  feel a knot on your belly, don’t worry, it happened to me, I really loved this movie, made me think about many things related to human kind. Are we good or bad? What if all that rules the world were vanished? What would happen? Sadly I gotta admit the answers were not very optimistic.