Once again, The Passion of The Christtopped the box office, bringing its 12-day total to $212 million dollars.
This success continued to astound and bewilder mainstream critics of the film, many of whom continued launching uncharacteristically reactionary and angry protests.
"I can't recall a movie that has depicted torture in such lavish, fetishistic and excruciating detail as … The Passion," says Brian D. Johnson (Maclean's). "What's most astonishing about [the movie] is that it's so luridly secular. Gibson has made a movie about flesh, not spirit—flesh that's kicked, beaten, flayed, punctured and lacerated for what seems like an eternity. I'm not sure Jews ought to feel offended … but Christians should. Anyone stepping into this movie from another planet, knowing nothing about Christianity, would assume it's a barbaric cult of blood sacrifice."
(Note: Brian D. Johnson is the same critic who described David Cronenberg's Crash, an explicit and shocking film about people who like to have sex in the midst of car crashes, as "exquisitely composed but emotionally impenetrable … brilliant and severely beautiful. It works on the mind and the eye, leaving the viewer shocked, haunted and bewildered—wondering what on earth to feel, which is perhaps the whole point of the exercise." When offended by The Passion, his put-down is to call it "luridly secular"?)
Similarly, Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader) writes, "Gibson stresses only cruelty and suffering, complete with slow motion and masochistic point-of-view shots. The charges of anti-Semitism and homophobia being hurled at the movie seem too narrow; its general disgust for humanity is so unrelenting that the military-sounding drums at the end seem ...1
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