Silence is not the immediate reaction I had to this movie. I was in shock and awe by the brilliant landscapes and brutal style of the film, but not silenced because of some distaste for this movie. You have to be silent in order to soak this movie in. It’s not often that a movie deals entirely with the image presented in order to tell a story. This movie, in a phrase, is old school. This may as well be a badass silent action film. That’s exactly what I took away from it.
And this is all Nicolas Winding Refn’s intent. After having seen (and reviewed) his other
Does this actor never have a left eye?
film, Drive, I don’t think I can get enough of what this Danish director is bringing to the table. With an archaic and visceral feel to this movie, it plays out in a slow manner, but many of the scenes will stand out to you in your mind way after its all been played out. Same thing goes for Drive too.
If I had to guess how many pages the dialogue took up in this film, I’d probably say a total of 5-6 pages. And that’s all it took to portray the characters onscreen. You know One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) is a hardass who never found his voice and expresses himself
The brutality of the Danish.
in violent outbursts. You even have a young child actor, named The Boy (Maarten Stevenson) who understands the idea of dramatic timing and delivery in this film. And that’s rare in such a adult themed film. Saying less gives so much more, and that’s what this film knew how to do.
Basic plot, everyone?
So, One-Eye (Mikkelsen) is a slave held in Scotland against his will. He is passed from barbaric tribe to barbaric tribe in order to fight and kill for the honor of the tribe that owns him. He is such a good fighter, that he has to be leashed up in order to set him at the same level as other fighters. Sleeping in a cage all night with little food or contact with others, he befriends The Boy (Stevenson), who shows him the only kindness he’ll ever know.
Upon being switched between tribes, One-Eye uses the almost-prophetic visions in red he receives at the beginning of
Refn and the gang!
the film in order to kill and escape. Kidnapping The Boy, he heads off for freedom. But not before he encounters a roving band of Crusaders looking and itching for a Crusade to wage. With One-Eye and The Boy in tow, the Christians take them on a boat ride to Hell, and eventually the new world.
As I said earlier, the locales are what impressed me most about this movie. Being shot in Scotland, I had little basis for what it actually looked like in a real context, and so this movie works on all levels for Scotland and America. The absence of human life really works well to isolate the feeling of the film, heightening the chances of death and lack of social norms in a clearly barbaric society. No one is safe in this
It doesn’t get more unsettling than this.
film, and it almost makes you feel uncomfortable when people turn on each other for survival.
Mikkelsen, that one-eyed badass from Casino Royale, is just as good in this movie as well. The cast is relatively unknown to me, which really works for this movie. Because who would be recognizable way back in 1000 A.D.? I just wanna give a lot of credit to the special effects and
make-up people as well in this movie, because I’ve never seen a more realistic head bashing than in this movie. Visually brutal to the point where your eyes bleed. Hardcore shizz.
The overall delivery was right up my alley. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for an artistically brutal and human psyche revealing film. It’ll make people uncomfortable, but it’ll be an unforgettable experience in the end. No real complaints, 8.9 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 1000 AD, absence of human life, adult themed film, America, archaic, badass silent film, barbaric society, barbaric tribes, brilliant landscapes, brutal style, Casino Royale, Christians, Crusaders, Danish director, death, delivery, discomforting, dramatic timing, Drive, eyes bleeding, fight and kill, Hell, human psyche, image to tell a story, isolated, kidnap, little to no dialogue, locales, Maarten Stevenson, Mads Mikkelsen, make-up crew, new world, Nicolas Winding Refn, no one is safe, old school, One-Eye, prophetic and disturbing visions, realistic violence, Red, saying less is more, Scotland, shock and awe, silence, silent, slave, slow play, soak it in, special effects, standout, The Boy, unforgettable experience, unknown cast, Valhalla Rising, violent outbursts, visceral feel, visually brutal, young child actor | posted in Movies
That’s right, I watched it. After having watched the South Park episode, “The Passion of the Jew”, I had to check this out to see why I was laughing. And it wasn’t far off. Amid the screams and oddly modern Middle Eastern music, what Kyle Broflovski witnessed is what I witnessed, with the same face of horror and awe. Mel Gibson may be a crazy person who runs around in his underwear with guns and hates Jewish people
A handsome lookin’ Jesus.
excessively, but I’m going to try to be unbiased and non-sacrilegious at this juncture. I’m going to rate this as a movie, not as a representation of religion. So let’s try to be P.C. here, folks. This is Jesus after all.
So, most people, religious or not, know the story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Just the title of it says it all. Jesus (played by Jim Caviezel) is betrayed by Judas (played by Luca Lionello) and beaten and crucified. This movie ties in all the trials and tribulations of Jesus in his last 12 hours before death, including a supernatural earthquake at the end. Insert Easter reference and you have what has been coined as “a two hour and six minute snuff film”. That’s not far off.
Okay, movie standpoint.
It is entertaining, like one of those public executions you can’t look away from. Like a schoolyard brawl. Like a car accident. It’s so horrific and brutal that you want to avert your eyes, but it is Jesus after all. The costumes seem to be taken straight from a nativity scene (or straight from the artwork that depicts Jesus’ death) and everyone
in this movie just can’t deny Jesus. He reattaches a man’s ear with just his hand for God’s sake!
But this movie starts to drag. In getting your point across, sure, you have to be accurate to an extent. But Jim Caviezel spent literally 2
… You know what, this was 90% of the film.
hours of the film writhing in agony and wanting to speak (as I’m sure he did at length in the Gospels) but not being able to make words through the gurgling blood. I’m about to throw out an obscure reference here. Has anyone seen the movie Waiting with Ryan Reynolds? Does anyone remember the new waiter that comes in (from Freaks and Geeks) who is always constantly interrupted until he erupts at the end of the film? That kind of epic speech is what I expected at the end of this film. Maybe that didn’t happen. But the biggest part I was looking forward to was the Roman soldier stabbing Jesus with the spear. This is due to my like of the movie Constantine. (Figure that one out.)
But yes, there could have been more of a focus on dialogue and deliverance of the emotions rather than a 2 hour visual narration of a man being beaten and tortured to death. I know that Mel Gibson said that Jesus had it worse than this movie depicted, but at some point it becomes the inspiration for a Saw film.
I got chills at this scene with the veil.
Coincidentally, the first Saw film came out in 2004 around the time of The Passion. Coincidence? It is. But what about the other 6 films? Hmm…
Pain fest and a half.
Jim Caviezel is praised for his performance in this film. Now, it’s a big role to take on that a lot of people wouldn’t do (is it sacrilegious, is it an homage? Iffy…) and I wouldn’t do it myself. But, I think the more powerful performances in the film came from Luca Lionello as Judas. His tortured character, as well as all the accompanying horrific images, really adds a damning element to the movie. You know he did the wrong thing, and he was to blame. It sent chills seeing him hung on that tree by the decaying horse.
Other strange performances came from Jesus’s mother, Mary. Maia Morgenstern, the Romanian actress really added an element of what appeared to be more a love interest than a motherly figure. (I know Jesus wasn’t romantically involved with
Monica Bellucci. Sexy since 33 A.D.
anyone, but if you kiss someone’s bloodstained feet, that’s pretty committed, I’d say.) She wept and stared throughout the whole film, saying maybe 3 lines. Visual film indeed. Speaking of visual, get a look at Monica Bellucci in this one as Mary Magdalene. You know after The Matrix series and Shoot ‘Em Up that this woman is packing a hot body underneath that shawl. She was the eye candy in this one, although Jesus was almost nude through the whole film.
If I have to say something really good, I was impressed highly with the make-up effects.
So you get all the iconic religious images and the Bible basically comes to life. Meanwhile, Judas is wiping his nose on wall and everyone is falling to their knees in despair. Even the head Jewish rabbi had the strength to rip two layers of woven clothing. That’s pretty redonk. But what was strange was all these representations of emotion are uncommon in the range of human emotions since the dawn of man. Showing emotions in these ways came off as too archaic to me, when the movie is trying to transmit emotion across the chasm to us modern viewers (at least, I felt that way…).
And now we get to the torture. The movie literally only focuses on this. One reviewer said it best when (along these lines) they said something about how watching this movie is not uplifting spiritually, it is more downtrodden and guilt ridden than
You wanna pass me some of my body?
anything else. I tend to agree. I just felt bad that people did this to Jesus (agnostically speaking, if this happened). Him falling over every 10 minutes made the movie drag almost to a comic degree. A ten minute flogging scene? I’ve already seen torture films that have more decency than this one. This movie takes violence to a degree that, although tame in comparison to films I’ve seen, it feels all the more real and uncomfortable because we’ve heard stories about this
… Aaanddd top it all off with Satan and the man baby.
gruesome affair. Add in a creepy Satan and man baby, and you have a film that is just too real and gritty, without much substance. From a movie stand point.
I’m not gonna take a huge stance on this from either side. I’m just gonna say it was weak for a movie from a movie enthusiast’s point of view. All visual, no grounded plot or substance of character. Jesus is spoken for and his story is taken for granted that the world already knows and doesn’t need cues. But, from a 2004 view, it did. Just an average film about the last hours of Jesus. Sorry if that offends… 5 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 2 hour visual narration, 2004, agnostic, agony, anti-Semitic, archaic, artwork style, average film, Bible, big role, boringly drags on, coincidence, comid degree, Constantine, constantly interrupted, costumes, crazy person, crucifixion, damned, decaying horse, despair, downtrodden, earthquake, Easter, extreme violence, eye candy, flogging scene, Freaks and Geeks, Gospels, gruesome affair, guilt ridden, hanging, hates Jewish people, homage, horrific and brutal, horrific images, horror and awe, hot body, iconic religious images, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus's Mother, Jewish rabbi, Jim Caviezel, Judas, Kyle Broflovski, last 12 hours, love interest, Luca Lionello, Maia Morgenstern, man baby, man's ear, Mary, Mary Magdalene, Mel Gibson, Middle Eastern music, modern viewers, Monica Bellucci, motherly figure, movie standpoint, nativity scene, new waiter, no epic speech, no grounded plot, not much substance, obscure reference, public execution, real and gritty, representation of religion, Roman soldiers, Romanian actress, Ryan Reynolds, sacriligeous, Satan, Saw films, severe beatings, Shoot 'Em Up, South Park episode, stabbed by spear, strange displays of emotion, strange performances, taken for granted, The Matrix series, The Passion, The Passion of the Christ, The Passion of the Jew, torture, tortured character, trials and tribulations, two hour snuff film, unbiased view, uncomfortable, very little dialogue, waiting, weak for a movie, weeping | posted in Movies