Rightwing Film Geek

Advance word on Mel’s movie

There was a private screening in Washington last night for Mel Gibson’s THE PASSION. A few dozen conservative glitterati were there, and the first round of reviews is all positive. Gibson is showing the film around to build word-of-mouth before its planned release next year.

The film has come under attack for anti-Semitism and historical inaccuracy, including an article in the New Republic (not on the Web far as I can tell) for which I frankly didn’t much care — it takes higher Biblical criticism far more seriously than I think it should be, but [much more unforgivably] cites it as though it were as “scientific” or supersecessionist as Newton’s laws of gravity.

Though admitting she was bound by a secrecy deal, Kate O’Beirne of National Review said that “The movie is intense and riveting, and the time quickly passes as you are completely drawn into the events in biblical Jerusalem. Although Gibson hasn’t yet begun negotiating with distributors, it is intended for general, nationwide distribution … Some will unfairly use Gibson’s labor of love to create a controversy, which is wholly unjustified in the case of this masterful film, but hopefully Gibson realizes that this too shall pass.”

Matt Drudge was just as forthcoming, gushing on MSNBC’s Buchanan and Press show that: “this is the ultimate film. It’s magical. Best picture I have seen in quite some time, and even people like Jack Valenti were in the audience in tears at this screening … and speaking as a Jew, I thought it was a magical film.”

“Mel Gibson stood back at the end and took questions for about an hour, and he is — he told me he’s tired of Hollywood. That this is it. He’s going to do it. He’s going to do it his way, and this film, I tell you, is magic. It’s a miracle. It’s a miracle,” he said.

Matt dismissed the charges of anti-Semitism, saying “They haven’t seen the darn film and those of us, every single person in there, and I’m not talking about tears, I’m talking total tears.”

Jack Valenti, head of the MPAA agreed about the anti-Semitism charges, saying that “I don’t see what the controversy is all about. This is a compelling piece of art.”

Now, none of these people are film critics or cinephiles and there’s often an element of “gee whiz, I saw the movie early” from audiences in such screenings. I don’t actually have the best track record with Jesus movies (upon reflection this morning, I realized I can’t say there’s a single one I’ve really flipped for and I haven’t seen even seen the most notorious — Scorsese’s LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. Still, it’s looking better and better that THE PASSION might be the one.

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July 22, 2003 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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