The Passion Recut

Rated NR 2005

Says in the press notes that Mel Gibson wanted to reissue The Passion of the Christ, stripped now of some of its gore but still clocking in at 122 minutes, in order to make "its message of love available to a wider audience" -- and, one assumes, make a few more bucks too. The original's bloodlust was indeed off-putting to the secular moviegoer -- Gibson fetishized each lashing, each wound, each drop of blood coagulating on Jim Caviezel's gaunt frame -- but therein also lay much of its power; if nothing else, it was indeed the year's most visceral movie experience. Stripping it of its "more brutal scenes," as Gibson puts it, smacks of cynicism and greed; this isn't the director's cut so much as the accountant's, five minutes lopped off to add a few more thou to the box-office take. Besides, it's not like cutting five minutes out of the thing is going to make it less boring . . . pardon, meant to say more inspirational. More inspirational, that's it. My mistake.

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