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View Full Version : Graphic Violence & The Passion


Shannon Nutt
02-26-04, 05:55 AM
I was thinking about this last night, and I don't know if anyone's raised the question yet, so here goes.

I realize I'm painting with a very broad brush with the following statement, but does it grab anyone else as highly ironic that the cross-section of the public that will support this movie the most (i.e. Catholics and the "Christian Right") are made up of a lot of the same people and groups who are constantly ranting and raving about the amount of violence in entertainment these days?

Maybe they will finally understand that violence in movies can be served as an artistic choice to help impact the audience in some way...then again, when the next Pulp Fiction-like movie comes out, I'm sure these people will be back up on their soapboxes.

Supermallet
02-26-04, 06:03 AM
Actually, quite a few people have balked at the amount of violence in this film, saying they would have preferred less.

However, I'm sure there are some who have complained about violence in the media who will support this wholeheartedly. The reason is simple: the violence here is for religious purposes. Most religions will sanction violence if it serves its purposes.

Giantrobo
02-26-04, 06:08 AM
What?

Gimme a break. What about the ones who normally defend violence in movies bitching about the use of violence in "The Passion" to add weight to their negative reviews? It seems to me BOTH SIDES have flipped positions to some degree.

I guess when it suites your agenda you use it......

The irony:

Graphic Violence in "Natural Born Killers" = Genius

Appropriate Graphic Vilolence in "Saving Private Ryan" = Historical accuracy...and genius

Appropriate Graphic Violence in "The Passion" = Mel Gibson is a psycho anti-semite, sadistic bastard, and he should be taken out back and have the shit kicked out of him..

:lol:

Big Quasimodo
02-26-04, 06:18 AM
Personally, I object to violence in film/television created for children.

This film is rated R and is not intended for children.

Shonn
02-26-04, 06:43 AM
Maybe it's just me, but I didn't find the gore to be nearly as bad as many reviewers have said. I've seen countless movies with more gore than this.

Giles
02-26-04, 10:04 AM
The flogging scene in general is vicious/excessively gory and prolonged to the point of overkill - but I guess that was the point.

the final stomach slitting of Christ is very graphic and powerful, because the scene is punctuated by the fact that the Roman soldier displays some relunctance in inacting this. This nuiance is surprisedly crucial and emotional to an already explicit scene.

RayChuang
02-26-04, 10:20 AM
I think people are forgetting that crucifixion as a form of public execution was a very cruel and unusual form of punishment, designed by Roman authorities to shock the local population into submitting to Roman rule.

I think people forget that crucifixions were a very common form of public execution in Roman times, and Mel Gibson admitted that he did some serious research into descriptions of how a cricifixion was carried out as described by writers in ancient Roman times. So in that context, the agony that Jesus went through in the movie accurately reflected the act of crucifixion as carried out by Roman authorities.

Giles
02-26-04, 10:50 AM
but did they really put the nails in the hands, even though they bound his arms with rope, I have read and understood, that the more common method was done through the wrists.

Jackskeleton
02-26-04, 10:52 AM
My thoughts.. If this amount of Graphic violence was in any film that was NOT based off a religious story then all those groups buying tons and tons of tickets to make sure the theater sells out would have thrown a shit fit about it. Remember how much shit talk was going on because of kill bill? It seems like a double standard that simply because it's based off a story they believe in that all that gore is "alright", but once you throw it on a work of fiction then everyone gets all pissed. -rolleyes-

whynotsmile
02-26-04, 11:06 AM
it was very graphic, but certainly not the bloodiest film ever made. but just the viciousness of the attacks as well as the look of pain on Jesus's face made it very disturbing. Bone snapping scenes made me shiver. eh

EPKJ
02-26-04, 11:09 AM
Originally posted by Shannon Nutt
I was thinking about this last night, and I don't know if anyone's raised the question yet, so here goes.

I realize I'm painting with a very broad brush with the following statement, but does it grab anyone else as highly ironic that the cross-section of the public that will support this movie the most (i.e. Catholics and the "Christian Right") are made up of a lot of the same people and groups who are constantly ranting and raving about the amount of violence in entertainment these days?

Maybe they will finally understand that violence in movies can be served as an artistic choice to help impact the audience in some way...then again, when the next Pulp Fiction-like movie comes out, I'm sure these people will be back up on their soapboxes.

Most religious conservatives have always stated that acceptance of violence in films is a matter of context. They oppose gratuitous violence, not expository and relevant violence.

natesfortune
02-26-04, 11:38 AM
It's a matter of context.

I don't care either way, personally, and there ARE hypocrits on both sides of this that have effectively flipped positions, and don't understand context.

But still, one must admit that this is a much different animal. Most of the violence people object to is violence "to be cool", violence for the sake of violence, violence as "fun". Violence that shows no consequence.

That is certainly not what is going on in The Passion. It is not depicted as "fun" or "without consequence" at all. It is not something to be emulated or to get a kick out of. It shows how horrible violence really is, and the results of actual violence.

It's an important distinction to make - people who have a beef with movie violence aren't talking about this kind of thing - but the opposite kind of thing.

Nobody was really complaining about the violence in Saving Private Ryan, for instance, even from these groups. Because it was, like this, showing something historical - showing violence as horrible and not twisting it into something cool.

That's what the issue is with people who have these concerns.

bjh_18
02-26-04, 11:39 AM
I don't see a double standard with the "religious right" by flocking to this violent movie while condemning other violent films. I think what view they are taking is that this film, to them, is as close to religiously accurate as has been done and that there's a reason for the violence. Just like Saving Private Ryan, there's a real reason for the violence. Now Natural Born Killers, Kill Bill, and Pulp Fiction (all movies that I love), there's no real reason for the violence in those films other than for entertainment and/or social commentary. I think they're making a distinction between what they see as senseless violnce and purposeful violence.

Giles
02-26-04, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by bjh_18

I think they're making a distinction between what they see as senseless violnce and purposeful violence.


and the fact that I think most people weren't aware that crucifixion was this graphic. sans the eye-pecking by the crow, which I thought was a tad gratutious but probably a reality, if you're going to be on a cross for a prolonged death you might as well expect a crow to casually fly by and pluck out your eyes. ack!

ephesix
02-26-04, 12:17 PM
i agree with the context comments. i think it's much more disturbing to people sensitive to violence when it's played out as fun, lighthearted or entertaining. when the guy gets his head blown off in the car in PUlp Fiction for a LAUGH, brains hosed off in the backyard later to comic effect, it is worse than flak damge in SPR, gas chambers in Schindler's List or the flogging and crucifixion in the Passion.

i can't comment on Kill Bill, i'm waiting for the DVD and theatrical release combination so i won't be pissed off for having to wait for the resolution like so many others. : )

i am a Christian and i watch some admittedly very violent films, stuff i probably "shouldn't" watch. i can understand the protests against most "Violence for the sake of Cool Violence" -type films which are marketed to younger viewers though, which A LOT of R rated movies are (the Matrix, Blade, etc.)

Jackskeleton
02-26-04, 12:29 PM
Context my ass. What is to say that films like KILL BILL aren't in context? Considering the film is a play off the many different films that QT took out of them I think the context of the blood isn't something that he tossed in for the sake of tossing it in. It's a homage to the films he is borrowing from just like some folks can say that PASSIONS is a homage of what jesus did.

So just because it is close to home for those religious means it's justified but if KILL BILL or any other blood field flick has the same type of gore that it can't be close to them and deemed justified? Double standard if I ever heard one. I'm surprised PASSIONS passed without getting an NC-17. The whole factor that it has it's ties with religion saved it of that I'm sure. A lot of the violence that is in other films may be over the top, but in a lot of the cases where the religious bible bashers start going off on have that level of violence for the sake of style, story telling and/or homage. I'm sure you can say that any film used unneeded violence to "look cool" but that would be an easy cop out. Hell you can say PASSIONS used violence to simply provide shock value. Something that is looked down on.. doing something simply to get a reaction right? Most films that are protested against aren't even marketed towards the younger demograph and they still get it simply because they don't share the same image that the religious folks do.

Either way lets call an apple an apple. Blood and gore is the same. I expect those crying while walking out of PASSIONS to keep their mouths shut when Kill Bill Vol. 2 comes out.

ephesix
02-26-04, 12:35 PM
i'm not sure if all your venom is directed at me or not... if so, please re-read my post.

i haven't ever protested a film. there are films i won't see (like Dogma) because i believe i will be offended or unneccessarily "assaulted" (like the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre) by the voilence depicted. like i said, i'm going to see Kill Bill because i am generally a fan of the films he's trying to emulate and pay homage to.

ephesix
02-26-04, 12:36 PM
oh, and i cried during the Passion of Christ.

and gore is not the same, regardless of where it takes place. Bloodsucking Freaks is VASTLY different than this film.

natesfortune
02-26-04, 12:39 PM
Originally posted by Jackskeleton
Context my ass. What is to say that films like KILL BILL aren't in context? Considering the film is a play off the many different films that QT took out of them I think the context of the blood isn't something that he tossed in for the sake of tossing it in. It's a homage to the films he is borrowing from just like some folks can say that PASSIONS is a homage of what jesus did.

Before I get into this, let me first say that Kill Bill was my favorite film of 2003. I saw it multiple times, and will most likely see the next one multiple times and I'm a HUGE fan of the movies it is quoting.

But it is still clearly about context. I think the criticism of Kill Bill was over the top, and did not take into account the TONE and the CONTEXT of that particular film, yes.

But it also very clear that a person concerned with film violence in many films wouldn't be concerned with the violence in The Passion - and that does not make them hypocrits in any way.

Because for most people like that, they are not saying "No violence!" at all. They're not against violence that has to be shown in a light that makes it horrific and negative, and serves the story - especially if that's historical. Violence is a part of human existence - showing it HOW IT IS is not wrong to many.

But creating violence FOR FUN is a much different thing. Can you not see the difference there? When you take the horrific and turn it into something that is supposed to produce cheers and entertainment value, then it becomes something nasty to many, and I can understand that point of view - it's not hypocritical in any way. Show violence how it is, do not glorify it. That's a distinction.

Now there ARE some who don't even make that distinction - very few, but some. Those people I do not understand at all.

Either way lets call an apple an apple. Blood and gore is the same.

That's one of the most ridiculous statements I've ever heard. Is showing somebody getting killed in a concentration camp - an accurate portrayal of history and the horrors of humanity - where people can learn and take from that experience, "the same thing" as Uma Thurman chopping off heads and limbs of hundreds to peppy rock-music in a cartoon-way? It's not the same at all.

One of them is mirroring reality - VIOLENCE IS HORRIBLE.

The other is creating something that's not reality - VIOLENCE IS COOL AND FUN.

You don't see a difference in those two statements?

pro-bassoonist
02-26-04, 12:49 PM
Originally posted by Giantrobo
What?

Gimme a break. What about the ones who normally defend violence in movies bitching about the use of violence in "The Passion" to add weight to their negative reviews? It seems to me BOTH SIDES have flipped positions to some degree.

I guess when it suites your agenda you use it......

The irony:

Graphic Violence in "Natural Born Killers" = Genius

Appropriate Graphic Vilolence in "Saving Private Ryan" = Historical accuracy...and genius

Appropriate Graphic Violence in "The Passion" = Mel Gibson is a psycho anti-semite, sadistic bastard, and he should be taken out back and have the shit kicked out of him..

:lol:

AGREE 100%....GREAT analogy!!

Jackskeleton
02-26-04, 12:50 PM
Originally posted by ephesix
i'm not sure if all your venom is directed at me or not... if so, please re-read my post.

i haven't ever protested a film. there are films i won't see (like Dogma) because i believe i will be offended or unneccessarily "assaulted" (like the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre) by the voilence depicted. like i said, i'm going to see Kill Bill because i am generally a fan of the films he's trying to emulate and pay homage to.

My Venom? Actually my words aren't directed to anyone here. It was more of a general comment towards the views of the extreme groups that protest and speak out against films that they claim serve nothing but highlight violence yet will flock to see this and not say a word.

I will admit, some films do make violence look fun and that's not what is always protested. I brought up kill bill because that was a title that was under a lot of steam because of it's use of violence which I can see why some would think it is on the surface just blood filled to be shocking when in fact it's doing it's job and playing homage to the other films.

A lot of it is Uneducated blind hate towards blood in general. they see blood on the screen and they scream bloody murder even though the films aren't targeted towards the childern or the such.

I'm willing to say violence is violence. Context is the matter, but even with context in the action it's looked at and if those protesting have some war drum to beat they wont care about the context. either that or not even look at it IN context and just start to go against it for the sake that it is not what they believe.

succubiss
02-26-04, 01:36 PM
I'm a rightwing Christian, and I love excessive violence!
so this movie is a win-win for me.

poetic_power
02-26-04, 04:37 PM
Originally posted by Giles
The flogging scene in general is vicious/excessively gory and prolonged to the point of overkill - but I guess that was the point.

the final stomach slitting of Christ is very graphic and powerful, because the scene is punctuated by the fact that the Roman soldier displays some relunctance in inacting this. This nuiance is surprisedly crucial and emotional to an already explicit scene.

I was glad that this scene was in the movie because past Jesus movies I've seen didn't show it. The Bible talks about.

Supermallet
02-26-04, 05:04 PM
I think Jack's problem is that people will generally condemn a film for being too violent unless it is of the most sobering of subject matters (the Holocaust, D-Day, Jesus' crucifixion). Just because violence is shown for fun doesn't mean it will destroy the fabric of our society.

Let's take a different film than Kill Bill, which a lot of people here loved. Let's take Ichi The Killer. In that film, everyone is either a sadist, a masochist, or a sadomasochist. One character cuts off the tip of his own tongue. Another kills a kid. I love this film. However, you can bet that a portion of the audience for The Passion would say this film was one of the worst pieces of trash they've ever seen.

Just because it's Jesus doesn't give it a free pass. If a filmmaker sees fit to put violence in a movie, let the filmmaker do it!

baracine
02-26-04, 05:25 PM
Any talk of a tie-in video game yet?

slop101
02-26-04, 05:47 PM
I'm not at all suprised by the negative reviews due to the violence of Passion. Divorced of spiritual meaning, it's just a snuff film. A believer is going to see the love of God and their own salvation, while everyone else will see Jerusalem Fight Club.

Besides, most reviewers are part of the jewish Christ-killer Illuminati conspiracy.
(that last sentence was a joke...)

natesfortune
02-26-04, 07:31 PM
Originally posted by Suprmallet
I think Jack's problem is that people will generally condemn a film for being too violent unless it is of the most sobering of subject matters (the Holocaust, D-Day, Jesus' crucifixion). Just because violence is shown for fun doesn't mean it will destroy the fabric of our society.

Let's take a different film than Kill Bill, which a lot of people here loved. Let's take Ichi The Killer. In that film, everyone is either a sadist, a masochist, or a sadomasochist. One character cuts off the tip of his own tongue. Another kills a kid. I love this film. However, you can bet that a portion of the audience for The Passion would say this film was one of the worst pieces of trash they've ever seen.

Just because it's Jesus doesn't give it a free pass. If a filmmaker sees fit to put violence in a movie, let the filmmaker do it!

As a filmmaker, I completely agree. As a filmgoer, I completely agree. I doubt anybody here would disagree with that, in fact.

My only point was the explain why a person who didn't like violence in films could still like The Passion and not be hypocritical in their thinking.

I UNDERSTAND it if somebody else doesn't like violence "to be cool" in films. But if they start trying to censor that by anything other than not giving their OWN money to the film on opening day, then they have a problem with me.

natesfortune
02-26-04, 07:33 PM
Originally posted by slop101
I'm not at all suprised by the negative reviews due to the violence of Passion. Divorced of spiritual meaning, it's just a snuff film. A believer is going to see the love of God and their own salvation, while everyone else will see Jerusalem Fight Club.

Besides, most reviewers are part of the jewish Christ-killer Illuminati conspiracy.
(that last sentence was a joke...)

After seeing the film, I have a hard time understanding how somebody could say the film was "divorced of spiritual meaning". Yes, the film concentrated on the suffering - but many of the spiritual elements of Christ and the political circumstances involving his crucifixion were right there in the film, albeit in a more subtle way than traditional storytelling structure - but it was plainly there and plainly felt.

Panda Phil
02-27-04, 12:40 AM
A reviewer in one of the small local papers referred to it as a 'Catholic snuff film.'

Pretty much sums it up for me.

jaeufraser
02-27-04, 01:08 AM
Originally posted by natesfortune
After seeing the film, I have a hard time understanding how somebody could say the film was "divorced of spiritual meaning". Yes, the film concentrated on the suffering - but many of the spiritual elements of Christ and the political circumstances involving his crucifixion were right there in the film, albeit in a more subtle way than traditional storytelling structure - but it was plainly there and plainly felt.

I agree. The film uses its graphic violence, IMO, to relate the suffering Jesus felt. Whether you believe in the spirtual part the film believes or not, the film still goes about showing that angle. While it does not do so in a heavy handed manner, I feel the movie has it all right there. If this were an original story, the film still would not be exploitative imo. Very violent? Yes. Gratuitous? I don't think so. Just because people don't believe in what this film says, doesn't mean that you can't suspend your disbelief. And for non believers, much like any fantasy or science fiction movie, you have to do the same thing. You do have to buy into the fact that this man is in fact, the son of God. Whether you think the movie properly achieves on a cinematic level is another question...I think it did.

On that note, I still have no problem with exploitative violence. Sometimes you just can't help but enjoy watching people's heads get lopped off (or maybe that's just us horror fans).

Horror Dude
02-27-04, 03:09 AM
I really don't know what the deal is with this movie? For the last oh say 2 weeks I've heard nothing but this movie is too violent and is degrading the JEWS. I for one am Jewish, and I must say that this film didn't make me feel that way, nor a lot of other people that I know that are Jewish. It seems that a lot of people forget that this world was a whole hell of a lot different back then. I makes perfect sense that a lot of the high priests and people under them would have been against JESUS, because he basically challenged power and customs. The movie doensn't show "all" the Jews against Jesus, in fact a lot of them in the towns were trying to stop it and help. It's just like today, many Americans agree with the war in Iraq, and others dont (just to make an example). The basic fact is that back then crusifying people was done, people wanted blood...And the fact that everyone is complaining that this film is a gore fest, whatever..Think about it..crusifying someone isn't pretty, and from what the bible says, Jesus went through hell and was betrayed by his people, the same people who originally wanted to be with him. Mel is a great actor and is a good director, and I would say that this film was well done, though some minor things got under my skin, it was still a good movie and the violence that was present added to the film...I mean it could have been a lot, lot worse!

Supermallet
02-27-04, 03:28 AM
Just saw it. People are overreacting to the violence. They should watch some really violent movies to gain perspective.

Although I did love the
exposed ribs.

For my taste, it wasn't gory enough.

jarofclay73
02-27-04, 03:42 AM
Okay I feel:

1) There are extreme right-wingers who hate ALL violence including ones in "The Passion."

2) There are right-wingers who are hypocrites who cry foul only with violence unrelated to Christian themes (of course, I don't know of another violent Christian movie).

3) There are right-wingers who like certain movies with violence but don't like what they think is gratuitous violence.

4) There are right-wingers who don't base the movies they like on the amount of violence there is in it.

Did I cover the entire right-wing?

natesfortune
02-27-04, 09:47 AM
Originally posted by jarofclay73
Okay I feel:

1) There are extreme right-wingers who hate ALL violence including ones in "The Passion."

2) There are right-wingers who are hypocrites who cry foul only with violence unrelated to Christian themes (of course, I don't know of another violent Christian movie).

3) There are right-wingers who like certain movies with violence but don't like what they think is gratuitous violence.

4) There are right-wingers who don't base the movies they like on the amount of violence there is in it.

Did I cover the entire right-wing?

I think you covered EVERYBODY of any political affiliation. Every "group", on any side of the political spectrum, has the views that you listed above - the whole range.

slop101
02-27-04, 10:39 AM
Originally posted by natesfortune
After seeing the film, I have a hard time understanding how somebody could say the film was "divorced of spiritual meaning". Yes, the film concentrated on the suffering - but many of the spiritual elements of Christ and the political circumstances involving his crucifixion were right there in the film, albeit in a more subtle way than traditional storytelling structure - but it was plainly there and plainly felt.

What I meant was if the VIEWER was divoreced of the spiritual meaning behind the film (as in, if they were not believers), then all they would see was some guy getting tourtured and killed without really understanding why, and therefore not getting the full meaning intended behind the brutality.

wlmowery
02-27-04, 10:44 AM
Originally posted by slop101
What I meant was if the VIEWER was divoreced of the spiritual meaning behind the film (as in, if they were not believers), then all they would see was some guy getting tourtured and killed without really understanding why, and therefore not getting the full meaning intended behind the brutality.

But the full intent WAS the brutality....

I continue to be amazed at how people continue to miss this. Mel has been very straight forward on this subject. What he wanted to do was RAISE the question of WHY for unbelievers so that believers could witness as to the why. It is my thought that an unbeliever who is unaware of the story fo Christ would come out of this film and ask WHY WAS THE MAN TORTURED LIKE THAT? And as a Christian it is our responsibility to answer that question.... A film which sought to answer the question would:

1. Be either too long or too diluted to have enough effect on the HOW as Mel desired;

2. Would be avoided by the non-believers as too preachy;

3. Would serve to undermine the personal role of each believer to be a minister of the gospel.

natesfortune
02-27-04, 11:59 AM
Originally posted by slop101
What I meant was if the VIEWER was divoreced of the spiritual meaning behind the film (as in, if they were not believers), then all they would see was some guy getting tourtured and killed without really understanding why, and therefore not getting the full meaning intended behind the brutality.

I know what you meant, but I still disagree.

I think it is pretty much in there - not exactly spelled out and very subtlely laid in in most places - but Jesus' background for why he's there is completely understandable by the context of the film. As well as how his spiritual teachings "they know not what they do" "he prays for you!" relate to The Passion.

slop101
02-27-04, 12:24 PM
Oh, I saw and understand all of that too (it helps that I'm a Christian, with more than a passing knowledge of scripture and theology) - it's just that the average movie-goer (Joe 6-pack, if you will) is not going to pick up on it, or on the film's subtleties, which Mel intended for. I just think you're giving the average movie-goer too much credit to read between the lines. But I guess as long as it gets them curious enought to ask questions...

natesfortune
02-27-04, 12:32 PM
Agreed.

baracine
02-27-04, 01:16 PM
A Canadian leftist perspective (Rick Salutin, The Globe and Mail, Toronto):

http://www.globeandmail.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20040227/COSALU27/TPColumnists/

Supermallet
02-27-04, 03:28 PM
Originally posted by wlmowery
But the full intent WAS the brutality....

I continue to be amazed at how people continue to miss this. Mel has been very straight forward on this subject. What he wanted to do was RAISE the question of WHY for unbelievers so that believers could witness as to the why. It is my thought that an unbeliever who is unaware of the story fo Christ would come out of this film and ask WHY WAS THE MAN TORTURED LIKE THAT? And as a Christian it is our responsibility to answer that question.... A film which sought to answer the question would:

1. Be either too long or too diluted to have enough effect on the HOW as Mel desired;

2. Would be avoided by the non-believers as too preachy;


I disagree with both of these last two points. I think including a little more of the why would have given the how even more power. And considering how much fervor Mel Gibson stirred up about this movie, it could have been longer. The Lord of the Rings proved people would sit through films that were upwards of three and a half hours without even an intermission. I presume many people consider Jesus to be more important than Gandalf, so they would have sat through it.

And The Last Temptation of Christ proved you could show the basic outline of his life and message without appearing too preachy. That film is admired by film enthusiasts, believers and non-believers alike. I think the extreme focus in this film will turn off a portion of non-believers in a way that Last Temptation doesn't.

slop101
02-27-04, 03:38 PM
Originally posted by baracine
A Canadian leftist perspective (Rick Salutin, The Globe and Mail, Toronto):

http://www.globeandmail.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20040227/COSALU27/TPColumnists/

And that guy's article totally proves my point.

Supermallet
02-27-04, 04:22 PM
Originally posted by baracine
A Canadian leftist perspective (Rick Salutin, The Globe and Mail, Toronto):

http://www.globeandmail.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20040227/COSALU27/TPColumnists/

Well, that wasn't really a review of the film so much as a condemnation of the Bush administration (which I don't mind, but it seemed out of place here). And also, the guy is a bad writer. He goes on the entire time relating the crucifixion to 9-11, and then suddenly says, "Oh yeah, the film is anti-semitic." Without offering any proof or anything more than a passing mention of the movie itself. You can mix your art with politics, just remember to mention the art.