The Passion of the Christ is Mel Gibson's long-awaited, highly-promoted film about the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus.
It is without doubt a masterpiece, but it is violent, graphic, and in my opinion, it belongs in the horror genre. Why? Because it is about chaos in one's personal universe, the cosmos, and loss. Gibson uses all kinds of cinematic devises related to the genre as well. These are intense and at times shocking. The vicious violence of this film made it a very difficult watch for me.
There will be many opinions about this film; no one will be neutral. Please see it before getting into any heavy discussions. As a Rabbi on MSNBC's Deborah Norville show said, let us use this film as a teachable moment so we can understand our faith traditions more in mutual respect.
I will be posting my essay at http://www.paulinecenterformediastudies.org in a few days; my official review will be published in St. Anthony Messenger magazine for April (http://www.americancatholic.org )