PictureEvery location is fantastically assembled and shot, and coloured filters are used to add mood where necessary. The cold midnight-blues of the Garden of Gethsemane by night are swapped for flickering, evil oranges in the flame-lit temple as Jesus has accusations thrown at him and is treated over violently for the class of prisoner he is. Then dawn comes and the early orange hue gives way to brilliant natural colour for Pilate's first outdoor address. Apart from light hues for many flashback scenes there is little filter use throughout the torture scenes, promoting the feeling of being in the courtyard yourself, making your own judgements on the wrong or rightness of his punishment. The final climactic death scene introduces the cold blue filter once more, which contrasts almost unbearably with the claret red blood now literally covering Jesus' body in a shot that seems between night and day. Even as Jesus breathes his last breath you can clearly identify detail on his skin beneath the blood soaked areas around open wounds - without any dodgy make-up effects ruining the shot. Picture this now without any mpeg artefact, without any transfer scratches, with no grain or edge enhancement, just black blacks, high contrast, and spot on colour accuracy.
SoundBoth Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks are very intense, blending effect and music with the kind of mastery Hero showed us. The DTS soundtrack just cutting the finer details better and to my ears integrating the front and rear soundstages, and the LFE level is that little bit tighter. This movie uses sound as much as vision. Every scene uses effects (some subtle environmental effects, some not) to give the viewer a feeling of almost being an invisible bystander who is continually in the middle of the action. Fires crackle away to the rear, drafts whip up dust in diagonal patterns across the soundpath and outdoor scenes are completely immersive. The best bit though (and a defining point of the movie) is Gods Tear - a good 5 minutes of slow build-up effect from silence, to building destroying earthquakes, people screaming, hurricane force winds and debris flying all over the screen and almost in-between the seats. Partner this to the excellent mood-supporting soundtrack of tribal drums and rudimentary wind and string instruments and you have yourself a reference disc that the next movie of this sort will have a very hard time equalling.
ExtrasNo extras, not necessary either.
VerdictThe Passion of the Christ works, and it works very well. Gibson has brought back the fundamental significance of the last twelve hours of Jesus - a man who goes through endless, unbearable torture and pain, and ultimately a death of the worst kind, to free from their sins all people.... including those who have put him there in the first place.
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