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Hypocrisy prevails in movie violence

“The Passion of the Christ,” the “controversial” Mel Gibson movie, portrays the last 12 hours of the life and crucifixion of Jesus. It is interesting that the adjective used most to describe a movie depicting a man of love and forgiveness is “controversial.”

Well, it certainly is controversial.

Hollywood as a whole and critics alike argue that the brutality and violence of the movie is unnecessary and shocking. In every review I have heard, the graphic violence is mentioned and some critics venture to use it as an excuse in their attempt to bury the movie.

These arguments on Hollywood’s part are purely and terribly hypocritical. I never thought I would see the day when the moviemakers who spit out movies like the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Hannibal” would slam a movie portraying the personification and reenactment of love itself because it is “too graphic.”

Violence is a Hollywood norm. Violence in movies is as common as sand in a desert. I am swimming in wonderful examples of this, such as the much-celebrated “Braveheart,” with blood and brutality pervading each battle scene. Examples of violent movies are so plentiful — “The Patriot,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Gladiator” and the Oscar-winning “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, to name a few — that I hardly have to pause while listing them.

Despite their violence, these movies, all of which I am a fan, were received with enthusiasm and thundering applause. The violence was accepted and handled by slapping on a well deserved PG-13 or R rating, and glorifying the central theme rather than the senseless bloodshed in their advertising.

In contrast, “The Passion” has been a target of anti-violence sentiment. What makes these previously named movies triumphs in Hollywood in spite of, or even because of, their graphic violence, while the depiction of Jesus on the cross results in the concerned shaking of heads?

Well, I like to believe that the aforementioned movies were accepted because they show meaning behind violence. They all underlie a worthy theme, showing significance and values beyond blood and war. Violence isn’t glorified, but is instead used as a tool for its shock value in order to prove a point.

Following this logic, I can think of no better message to get across to people than the message that Mel Gibson is advancing in “The Passion,” using realistic violence as a tool.

On the cross, Jesus cried, “Father forgive them!” as nails were pounded through his hands, which had previously been used to break bread, hug children, heal the blind and calm storms on the sea.

Yes, “The Passion” is graphic and violent, but this violence mirrors reality, and it gets the point across. It is necessary.

Reading in the scriptures and hearing in sermons that Jesus had once undergone this torture is too easy. Attempts to understand and accept this as fact are fairly unproblematic and virtually painless. However, grasping the concept is much more involving, much harder and is made possible only by depicting the pain and anguish as realistically as possible.

A crown of thorns was put on his head. This is a harder image to shake off when you see his skin penetrated, his bones crunch and his blood mingle with his tears. It is hard to see his flesh splatter on the laughing Roman soldiers as they rip through his skin with their whips. It is hard to see the crimson blood stain the gritty sand as Jesus crumples from beneath the weight of his cross. It is hard to see the pain in the eyes of his mother as she collapses with her passionate grief.

It is hard, but it is necessary.

What is Hollywood afraid of? What truly makes them hesitate to embrace a movie of this magnitude of heart and feeling?

The argument that “The Passion” is too graphic and realistic is hypocritical and is used to evade its true meaning. “The Passion of The Christ” is alive, and it’s important. Don’t use the hypocrisy of Hollywood as a reason for not seeing this movie.

E-mail comments to Jessica at [email protected].

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