"The Passion Of The Christ"
Francis Donald Grabau


Okay, here's how it goes; everything's blue and shot (canonically) through a camera darkly. Full Moon over Gethsemane, -it's a kind of park on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Figures are moving in the gloom. Sure enough, one of them is Jesus, the Christ. A Christ is a person who has been anointed and is also a Messiah. But don't think of all that bombastic, baroque music from Handel. This Christ-Messiah is totally unmusical. Definitely not "Jesus Christ Superstar". He's mumbling obscurely to an unseen presence. It's his Dad he's talking to up in heaven. He's really upset (sweating blood) and then he gets pissed-off at his guy friends whom the camera discovers asleep under various trees. He complains that while he's going through deep shit they're all asleep.  What kind of friends are they; he "guilts" them pretty heavily and they look appropriately shamefaced. Hard to remember what comes next, but at some point there's this long shot of clouds going over the Moon and the Jesus getting even more upset. Finally, he throws himself down on the ground groaning.

A weird face appears. It's the face of a sinister woman. It's kind of blue-gray as if she's a corpse. She's leering at the Jesus and all of a sudden a snake slides out of the bushes and slithers toward him. I swear, this really is what happens. You sort of expect to hear the howling of a werewolf, to see Dracula or Lestat swoop down out of the trees. But nothing like that happens. The Jesus just gets up and stomps his booted foot on the snake. Thud!  Dead snake. Well, you know he probably wasn't wearing boots, just sandals -but that snake gets whacked with a soundtrack THUD.  I think it was supposed to be a symbol for Satan.  Poor snakes, they've never gotten any sympathy from christians. They're supposed to be extensions -if not virtual embodiments- of the force of SATAN! The snake's bloody death is a hint of things to come... "Lethal Weapon V; The Passion Of The Christ" !

Okay, so the Jesus stomps on Satan. At that point, the folks sitting beside me in the Movie House dug deeply into their drums of popcorn. I wanted to yell out, "Snake Killer!" -but I realized this little bit isn't in the gospels, it's just a small liberty Mel took as "artistic license". Still, you gotta admit it fits right in with the dreary view of Nature and Nature's Creatures so common among christians (think "Armageddon"). Anyway, snakes are just cursed and slimy crawlers in league with Satan as far as the Jesus Folks are concerned. It's in their only book, the Bible. You're supposed to remember how the Big Snake tricked Eve who tricked Adam in the Garden of Eden and caused us all to fall out of favor with the father god that made us. It's cursed, and so are we. But the Big Picture claims that the Jesus is this daddy god's "only begotten" son and he's gonna suffer and die for our sins which started with us eating apples off a forbidden tree. Well, technically speaking, these weren't really apples they were "the fruits" of the tree of "the knowledge of good and evil".

Let's see, we cut away to a bunch of old, bearded men in costly costumes carrying sticks and they're talking with some guy you know must be Judas. They toss him his bag of silver pieces -it zooms in slow motion through the air, but Judas is a lousy catcher and misses the bag which crashes to the ground spilling the coins all over the place. Judas grovels on the ground picking them up. He's dressed in rags. But the old men are the Jewish Priests and their costumes are way over the top; heavy woolen robes ornately decorated with woven sigils. Typical Churchmen carrying their shepherd's staffs getting ready to give their sheeple their orders.

This brief bit finished, we're back in the gloomy garden with the even gloomier Jesus. This time big, armored guards show up with Judas and the Jesus is arrested. Peter cuts off one of the guard's ears and the Jesus puts it back on. No surprises here, this movie faithfully follows the book. And as every christian knows, it's all trudgingly "uphill" from here. But Mel makes it really fun. If you're in to suffering for your sins and hating (subliminally)  yourself and every other human being because we all killed god's son then this flick is your guarantee of an orgy of repulsive and meaningless suffering. May as well give up on the plot, it's obvious. What's important is all the cruelty, cowardliness, and passive voyeurism as the Jesus gets brutalized in scene after gory scene. The faithful sitting beside me ate it up with deep satisfaction, munching their popcorn and slurping their soda pop. Once I thought the butter on the popcorn was stained blood red to help create the proper mood and profit, to compliment the souvenir mugs and nails Gibson is selling along with his sado-masochistic movie.  But I know I was just hallucinating out of horror and boredom. Mel would never do anything that vulgar, right ?  But I'm not so sure. I confess, I'm not only a Holocaust "denier", I'm a Jesus "denier" too. And to tell you the truth, I absolutely "HATE" his sadistic father god. Talk about your Evil!

We never even get a glimpse of Big Bad Daddy in this movie, we just keep getting whipped, scourged, spit on and guilted. I know the story by "heart" since I'm what they call a "recovering christian" -a Roman Catholic, to be specific. This stuff was fed to me from my earliest years. I crawled up and down the marble floors of churches in Baltimore praying the infamous "Stations of the Cross".  Jesus falls the first time, Jesus falls the third time, Mary Magdalen wipes his face. I was given and lived in the Medieval Book of Devotions called "THE IMITATION OF CHRIST" by Saint Thomas a Kempis! I was urged to FEEL each scourge, to feel the crown of thorns, to realize all this happened because of my vile sins. Getting born in the first place was the original sin. All the rest of the story (life is understood to be a movie) goes downhill from there until you die. But then, if you've been sufficiently guilty and stopped sinning you get to go to heaven!  Whoop-de-do!  That's where all the good stuff's supposed to be. Especially if you're not blessed with a big bucket of popcorn to eat during the show, and a gallon of soda pop to drink. And even more especially if you don't mind the idea of millions of evil sinners suffering eternal torment in Hell while your enjoying the delights of Heaven with all the other good, chosen christians. Hellish torments are in store for all the evil sinners who don't accept Jesus and his Big Bad Dad. You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why, the Jesus Christ is coming to town....


Next thing you know the Jesus is brought at night into what looks like Roman Ruins to "face-off" with all the Jewish Priests and their low-life followers. Once again the eye gets to oogle those outrageously sumptuous robes worn by the priests while the Jesus and all the rest of the rabble are suited out in colorless rags. If you're intending to go see this movie I suggest you enjoy these costumes as best you can because the only other relief your eyes will get in this flick will come when you see Pilate's wife dressed in clean clothes with a few dabs of healthy color here and there. But, on with the Tale ...the Jesus gets yelled at by the appropriately sinister and sneering Priests accusing him of breaking all their Church Rules. He just stands there mutely for the most part. The rabble yell at him too, and a few punches are directed his way, but he's the model christian sacrificial Lamb so he puts up with all this like Ghandi on a bad day. Of course, they decide to crucify him right then and there and his friend, Peter, denies him three times so as to fulfill the prophecy and escape the crowd's bloodthirsty wrath. That scene ends with Jesus being dragged off to see Pontius Pilate, the Roman Authority figure to whom the Jews are subordinate. Pretty flat stuff, but you do get your introduction to the close-up camera's Medieval Rogues Gallery of dark, greedy, and viscious human faces which it will continue to faithfully pan throughout the remainder of the gore fest.

This is a feverishly macho "straight" guy's view of the torture and death of the Jesus. All the colors heavily favor browns, blood red and blacks. Boots, clubs, whips, hammers, armor, and leather flood the screen. It might have been a bit more interesting had Mel decked all the guys out in camouflage gear, -you know, that drab olive green stuff with black and brown splotches on it. A few tanks and bazookas wouldn't have hurt either. A dab of depleted uranium here and there might also have perked up the plot, but we just have to make do with the cat o' nine tails kinda flogging, the spit, mockery and crown of thorns. Guys like to play rough. Real men delight in doing their duty. These Breugel-Bosch Men can't get enough kick-ass fun out of "interrogating" their victim. Shit, if you're even half-way conscious you can't help but think of boot camp training, Delta Prison at Guantanamo, present day abuse of men held hostage by present day christians and their corrupt Corporate Church Police States. The Jesus suffers and dies for your sins just like every other victim held unjustly by Society's Official Thugs.

Mel delights in rubbing our noses in all this stench, in all this Mad Max meets Braveheart in the Thunderdome kinda stuff. And just so we know we're not supposed to approve of it (or catch ourselves vicariously torturing god with our sins) he has Pilate and his wife, Mary and John, and several others periodically shaking their heads and looking askance at the whole affair. They stand-in for the White Light Yuppies of our current cultural paradigm. But, of course, nobody DOES anything about it. Nobody gets pissed off and fights back. After all, the Jesus is just meekly following his dad's script. And that script is the movie's message: love means always having to say you're sorry, love means suffering and abuse, love means following your sadistic daddy god's perverted script for life right through to death. Presidents, Popes, CEO Officers are just legal substitutes for the authority of the Super Stud God. He's still got a hard-on over that apple eating. The Jesus gets nailed. And he's the sympathetic protagonist in this story, he's the good guy we're all being asked to identify with and feel sorry for  -so I guess you get the picture. Pretty perverted stuff. Sacred, divine "seal of approval" suffering. I think we're supposed to believe the American Cancer Society, the World Council Of Churches, and the CIA are all working hard every day to try to find a cure for all this pain and death. Just contribute when you can and keep your mouth shut. Or praise the Lord and pass the Ammunition.

Like I'm tellin y'all ( I saw this Movie in Louisiana, and I really like the thick, Southern drawl !) this is a guy's flick. Mister Gibson claims the "Holy Spirit" led him to make it. One wonders if he's confused the Holy Spirit with Mkultra mind control or that other current fad, Remote Viewing.  In terms of "The Imitation Of Christ" Mel has simply projected himself into the events by way of a kind of meditative remote viewing, and he's just wanting to lay-out the hard facts. Let's get real about what the Jesus actually, graphically went through during his passionate suffering. Realism, of a sort. The kind of realism that sticks to the surface of things, -the thorns, nails, whips and blood. But Mel, if you're really gonna get down with us where's the sodomy?  Where's that other universally common and celebrated practice abusive soldiers love to employ on their male victims?  Of course, they fucked the Jesus in his sacred ass, but don't mention that. Won't do to say how (male) mankind fucked god in the butt. But that's just what sadistic torturers do and it goes on every day all around the planet in the prisons and the "detention" camps. It's all over the "pornographic" internet. The US Senate just last year passed official approval of torture for intelligence agents interrogating suspected terrorists. For Christ's sake, we live in a country that claims the right to invade, bomb, and otherwise molest any Nation even SUSPECTED of threatening us! We all know about the direct connection between war and rape, we're supposed to "read between the lines" but NEVER ever speak these things out loud. Why not ? Hey, Mel, this is a guy's tale of god's torture, let's not be squeamish or politically correct. Go for the guts. Let's see Jesus get butt fucked by the burly Roman studs. Let's kick some real ass around here. After all, when it's over with we can piously beseech: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Then watch the instant playbacks. Turn the other cheek.

Paul Harvey informs us that Mel himself has suffered cruelly at the sadistic hands of other men. Beaten to a pulp: * "They mashed his face with their boots, and kicked and beat his body brutally with clubs, leaving him for dead. When the police happened to find him lying in the road they assumed he was dead and called for the Morgue Wagon. On the way to the morgue, a policeman heard him gasp for air, and they immediately took him to the emergency unit at the hospital. When he was placed on a gurney, a nurse remarked to her horror, that this young man no longer had a face. His eye socket was smashed, his skull, legs and arms fractured, his nose literally hanging from his face, all his teeth were gone, and his jaw was almost completely torn from his skull." It's certainly clear from all this why Mel Gibson took the approach he did to his story of the Christ's passion. I don't find fault with the crude realism of his film. I just don't think it goes far enough. I mean, if you're going to show all this why not put it in the broader social-political-religious context in which it unfolded?  Address the issue of WHY this story of the Christ's passion has been recited and re-enacted year after year in the Western Christian Capitalist World. What's the real message in this story?  What's the payoff?  Who profits from the brutal torture and death of the Spirit in all humanity?  Suffering at the hands of sadistic bigots is not noble or holy, it's degrading. Yet all through the movie the folks around me alternately munched their popcorn and sipped their sodas. There were many young boys in the audience. Their mothers and fathers brought them. That gives one reason to question, and makes one wonder. What goes on in the mind of a ten year old boy brought by his parents to see this movie about the cruel torture and sadistic murder of god's son?

When I was ten years old and a good christian boy I sang in church with my brethren a jaunty little hymn that went like this:  "An Army of Youth flying standards of Truth, we're fighting for Christ the Lord. Heads lifted high, Catholic Action our cry and the Cross our only Sword! On Earth's battlefield, never advantage we'll yield as dauntlessly on we swing ...for our Flag, for our Faith, for Christ the King!"  Now, I bid you kindly think about that. George W. Bush dubbed his violent invasion and rape of Afghanistan and Iraq a "CRUSADE" against Islamic Terrorists. Is it the Passion of the Christ ?  The President, please recall, says the Jesus speaks to him even as the "Holy Spirit" spoke to Mel urging him to put his own story on film. Andy Rooney, bless his curmudgeonly soul, has retorted that god spoke to him too, telling him to tell us that George, Mel, and others are "whaco" ! Oh, but ...you better not shout, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why...the Jesus Christ is coming to town.  Whacko ?  WacoBranch DavidiansArmageddon.  Remote Viewing.  Subliminal Mind Control ?  Stay tuned for the real buzz ...coming soon, to another theatre near you.


That mysterious woman with the greasy, blue-gray face seems to pop up in the Passion on three or four occasions that I can remember, and I think that the second time she appears is the most dramatic. The Jesus is being roundly brutalized, blood is puddled all over the surrounding stones and his relatives and friends are watching from the sidelines and wincing. His mother, Mary, is among them garbed with the traditional veil covering her head. But then we catch glimpses of this other female face, the blue-gray one, weaving her way through the crowd, wearing a similar veil and holding it up over the lower part of her face. When the camera zooms in on her we see that she's carrying a baby against her breast. She lowers the veil and the baby's back is seen thick with coarse splotches of black hair. This, I suggest, is a bit "campy" again bringing to mind Grade B flicks of monsters and ghouls. I thought for a second the audience would laugh or boo, but then the infant turns its face into the camera and we see the visage of a bald headed man aged around 75 years old. The flesh of its face is somehow soft and wet like rotten dough. Shockingly, it reminded me of a line drawing of the face of the Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius, which I once saw on the cover of his Second Symphony. But the effect is grotesque. Is that baby Demian, is it the "Omen", the Hollywood "Demon Seed" ?  Is it Satan himself ? And why is EVIL shown in the guise of a grotesque baby and a blue-gray woman's greasy, bloated face ? Is she meant to be the dark side of Woman, the Anti-Virgin, the Filthy Madonna ?  Woman, after all, according to Genesis introduced Man to sin. Woman, in the judeo-christian paradigm is the Temptress. She's weak willed and needs to submit to her Lord and Master, her Male Mate.  Religion, I submit, and I mean ALL religion is the oppressive tool of sadistic men. Anyway, that's how it looks to me from my (not very comfortable) seat at the movies.

Just after a black bird pecks out the eyes of one of the two thieves crucified on either side of the Jesus the weird blue-gray woman appears again. It all happens so fast you're not sure what's meant to be going on. A storm is brewing and the earth quakes. The camera seems to zoom in and out at the same time to a bird's eye view of Golgotha with a curled corpse or a fetal skeleton on the ground. There's a quick scene of Jesus shot from the waist up leaving his tomb, and an exultant military strain of music surges up to close the film. Thank god that's over with!

But is it ? I can't help wondering about all the hoopla surrounding this film, nor the timing of its release. It's been denounced as "anti-semitic", as a "hate" film, seen as a courageous christian statement and most accurately as a sado-masochistic orgy. Mel's dad has tried to explain his views on the holocaust and Mel has said his dad never, ever lied to him. The "dominionist" christian views of the Bush administration (see footnote at conclusion of this review **) hitherto wholly supported by Corporate Media are suddenly coming into question. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq. Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld -all rabid christians- have been exposed as blatant liars. Israel continues its policy of systematic genocide toward Arab Palestinians.  There's that whole "temple of the dome" scenario playing out in Jerusalem and it's required in order to complete the "rapture" of Armageddon.  I ask myself, -what agenda have we here ?  Is Mel up to something that doesn't quite meet the eye ?  Whatever possessed him to merchandise mugs and nails in conjunction with "The Passion Of The Christ" ?  Why not a souvenir crown of laminated thorns ?  It smacks -just a bit- of the Pharisees whom the Jesus claimed had turned his father's temple "into a den of thieves". But hey, Gibson shelled out 20-30 million of his own (highly profiled) hard earned cash to finance this gambit, and a guy's got a right to make a buck. Jesus or not. That's the American way. That's the Corporate way. That's the interest due on the christian theme of profit and usury. Christianity has turned the realm of Spirit into a den of thieves for nigh unto 2000 years now and still running. Whose interest might this film further ? The Skull & Bones Fraternity ?  The "Family" of Dominionists ?  Is this the work of god called "Opus Dei" ?

I remember Mel Gibson in that other film, "Conspiracy Theory". He was brilliant and either "acted" like a guy who'd swallowed speed or else, perhaps, he actually did take amphetamines like all the pilots in the US airforce. It's a daily ration issue. Mel played a fellow named Jerry who was pursuing every conspiracy theory you could imagine. He was madly devoted to Erin Brockovitch alias Julia Roberts disguised as Alice Sutton and Captain Jean Luc Picard was hunting him down. Patrick Stewart played Judas to Jerry's Jesus constantly betraying him and trying to kill him. Mel was hilariously convincing in that serious farce. But, you know, these days it's hard to tell "truth" from "conspiracy theory".  "In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, now heaven knows  -Anything Goes!" but them words was brought to us by that rich fag, Cole Porter, who'd probably want to participate in the abomination of a gay marriage if he were alive today. Sweet Jesus, we better put a stop to all this vile work of Satan. His seductive lies are everywhere!

For example, today a friend informed me that the story attributed to Paul Harvey *(above) all about how Mel had been so seriously beaten isn't true. Apparently, Paul Harvey never said all that and Mel never got plastic surgery provided by a sweet, old, pederast Catholic priest. He just had a regular fight to defend himself and needed to get a few stitches. But hey, he really was crucified as Braveheart, wasn't he ?  There really were "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq, weren't there ? And the Twin Towers imploded perfectly downward because two airplanes crashed into them. And Pearl Harbor was a big surprise. And John Kerry isn't just the other face on the flip side of the coin called George Bush. And pasty faced women done up with blue-gray makeup are Satan's harlots, aren't they ? And we did kill god, didn't we ?  We are guilty, aren't we …so how can we expect we'll ever be worthy enough to know the real truth ever about anything ?  After all, we see now through a glass darkly and that glass is the Jesus and his maladjusted, sociopathic father currently being played by George Bush and Dick Cheney.

But Mel has done us all the big favor of setting things straight about our brutal natures -persistent rumor has it that he's terribly homophobic- by showing us in close-up, slow motion detail just how our daily sins drive those nails deep into the flesh of Big Daddy's favorite and only son. God-Killers, that's what the whole human race is -a bunch of fallen, sinful ingrates unworthy of ever knowing the truth. And don't forget, -it's mostly those Eves among us, those debauched women slithering like snakes in all their blue-gray makeup who are responsible for us guys getting kicked out of Eden. Shit, let's bomb the hell out of that place. The old honest and traditional Bible Scholars said it was right there, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.  Satan has his offices in Iraq, smack dab downtown in Evil Baghdad! Let's all sign up for the Crusade and get those Terrorists 'cause we wanna be good ten year old boys "fighting for Christ, Our Lord"!

Fiddle-de-de, Mel, give us girls a break! Religion is the biggest conspiracy theory out there! You remember, don’tcha "What Women Want" ? Put on your panty hose again, and get past this Jesus Freak stuff. Next thing you know we'll hear how you begot yourself through the Immaculate Conception in a Virgin Birth -which, by the way, is my particular claim to glory!  Have you checked yourself for "chips" lately, are you still able to do Jerry in Conspiracy Theory ?  Why not kiss and make up with Captain Picard, ride off into the sunset with Julia Roberts and track down all the Skulls & Bones. I'm tellin ya, Mel, you were right the first time around -love is Geronimo, and God doesn't write Bibles. Actually, she's probably a little miffed with you for smearing all that ghoulish, blue-gray makeup over her face.

"One Nation Under God"

Y'all remember now, the Jesus is his favorite "philosopher".
" ...for our Flag, for our Faith, for Christ the King! "


If you're not familiar with the christian "Dominionist" problem in the USA, please follow the link below for a complete layout of this important issue:
"Behind the scenes religious conservatives were abuzz with excitement.They believed (Pat) Robertson had stepped down to allow the ascendance of  the President of the United States of America to take his rightful place as the head of the true American Holy Christian Church."


For more on Opus Dei go here: SaintEscriva.html