Today’s Prayer Focus

Impact: The Passion of the Christ

Reviewed by: Brett Willis

Moral Rating: Excellent
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults Teens
Genre: Documentary
Length: 1 hr. 30 min.
Year of Release: 2004
USA Release: December 3, 2004 (Sacramento, CA)
Expanded early 2005 (limited)
Copyright, Fallen World Productions Copyright, Fallen World Productions Copyright, Fallen World Productions Copyright, Fallen World Productions Copyright, Fallen World Productions Copyright, Fallen World Productions Copyright, Fallen World Productions
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“The new commentary film behind the most explosive movie ever made.”

I didn’t know what to expect of a documentary about the film, “The Passion. Or what I would write about it. Well, I got more than I expected, and I can write more than I thought I could.

The writer/director, Tim Chey, takes us to the opening of “The Passion of the Christ” in Japan, India and Texas. He has interviews with (among others): The President of the Southern Baptist Convention; Ted Baehr of Movieguide; a leader of Campus Crusade in Korea; Susan Perlman of Jews for Jesus; NBA star David Robinson; and Rabbi Daniel Lapin, who correctly points out how the Jewish community uses a double standard in judging “The Passion” and other endeavors by Christians.

There’s also footage showing several forms of opposition to “The Passion” (demonstrations, speeches, press releases). One pair of quotes by a high-profile film reviewer (from reviews of “The Passion” and of a film with gratuitous violence) shows that a double standard exists in the ShowBiz community as well. Clearly, it’s not WHAT you show, it’s the purpose for which you show it.

There are no clips from “The Passion” shown in this documentary.

There is no sexual content or nudity.

There’s a minimal amount of violence, including: Police photos of the aftermath of a gang murder in Norway, and footage of the surveillance cameras from Columbine High which may or may not show a student actually being shot.

There’s no audible profanity. There’s some profanity during one or more demonstrations that’s muted out. There’s home movie footage of the Columbine killers practicing with their weapons and cursing and blaspheming, saying it was good that Jesus was killed (the soundtrack is muted, there are subtitles, and the offensive words within the subtitles are partly blanked out). The point of the Columbine footage is that the killers were apparently targeting Christians.

An oft-repeated fear is that “The Passion” would lead some people to violence, particularly violence directed against certain groups. One of the most impressive aspects of this documentary is the effect that “The Passion” had on people who were already murderers. There are interviews with two such people, one a long-time Nazi, and the other a young man who had killed his girlfriend and made it look like a suicide. Both of them turned themselves in after experiencing the touch of Jesus, triggered in part by seeing “The Passion of the Christ.”

The film asks many questions. One of the first is the hot-button issue of “Who killed Jesus?” That’s a complicated question. On one level, Jesus willingly gave Himself. On another level, we ALL killed Jesus, because it was our sins that caused Him to do what He did.

I recommend this film for church rental (when it becomes available) and for general viewing. It should be a positive influence on any family member old enough to understand the material.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

See our review of The Passion of the Christ

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