OSCAR WATCH • The Imitation Game: A Masterpiece of Subversion.


The story of Alan Turing, the brilliant yet troubled mathematician who led the cryptographic team that defeated the Nazi Enigma code in WWII and created the world’s first computer.

Wow, this Oscar season offers a slew of amazing performances. This one by Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing is a riveting and pathos filled drama that views like a gay version of the Oscar winning A Beautiful Mind.

This movie is a riveting, solid, well-told story. Brilliant in its machinations and exciting in its imagination. It explores the nuance of moral decisions in war, the complexity of social classes and issues, the alienation of mental illness, and the pain and irony of genius.

Who could have thought that there could be such exciting suspense, such heart-stirring pity, and such powerful moments of cheerful dramatic victories in a movie about a group of weird nerds penciling out mathematics and building a computer? But The Imitation Game is all that.

And it’s a brilliant artistic masterpiece for the homosexual agenda.

Many conservatives and religious folk have said that the homosexual element is minor and not what the movie is really about. They have missed the point entirely and have become victims of good storytelling, no, great storytelling.

Let me explain how this works.

Ad300x250-Gen2RevA great story is able to link, by analogy, a personal journey to a larger societal or historical issue that both connect by analogy to a broader universal theme. For instance, A Beautiful Mind told the story of Nobel Peace Prize winning mathematician John Nash (also, an asocial type like Turing), whose brilliant work in cryptography, coupled with his schizophrenic mental illness, became a metaphor for the universal theme of the modernist rational quest for truth and the romantic humanist desire for love and meaning. His mind’s limitations caused delusions of paranoia, but the heart has its reasons that the mind knows not of. It’s Cold War subtheme of paranoia was historically timely in that the movie was released in a post-9/11 world. John’s own personal psychological struggle with discerning reality from illusion was an incarnation of our modernist quest to discern truth from fiction, and real from imagined enemies. His personal struggle with his mental illness was a perfect metaphor for a philosophical and social issue.

The Imitation Game is a similar timely metaphor. It tells the story of an oddball man who was rejected by the very society that he saved because of his genius. A tragedy of greatness. It is about breaking down our personal and social prejudices by showing that the very kind of people we often reject are the ones who do great things, such as, oh, save the world. History definitely bears out the repeated theme of the movie, “Sometimes, it’s the very people that no one imagines anything of that do the things no one can imagine.” Society too often rejects the misfits, who may offer the most to bring balance to the world. And who of us doesn’t at some time in our lives feel like such misfits and oddballs who feel out of place?

Let the spin games begin.

Storytelling does not make logical arguments so much as emotional arguments. It incarnates logic or worldviews which touches us existentially as storied human beings. Story makes its most powerful connections emotionally through such rhetorical techniques as montage. The concept is that by placing two or more disparate images or storylines next to each other, viewers make emotional connections between those things, whether or not they are logically connected.

In The Imitation Game, the story addresses social “inequities” most of us would not dispute. It deals with the unfair repression of women in the workforce and society. Keira Knightley’s character, and closest friend of Alan, Joan, is shown as being smarter than all the boys, while being given short shrift in society. She isn’t allowed to work with only men, her parents pressure her to get married instead of becoming a working woman. These are all the classic feminist arguments neatly packaged into a perfect victim that only a Blue Meanie would not sympathize with.

Then, it shows us Alan’s alleged autistic Asperger’s type social awkwardness. Well, who among us would not feel sorry for such innocent suffering? The poor guy can’t help it, and he’s really quite sweet underneath that rudeness and lack of emotion and sensitivity. Heck, understanding people is like cracking a code for him. And of course, it is precisely that autism that blesses him with the mathematical brilliance to break the Enigma code of the Germans that ended the war early and saved millions of lives. But that is not all. That autism that we would see as “abnormal” resulted in figuring out the world’s first computer, one of mankind’s greatest achievements.

So, you can see the litany of injustices that are laid out, with which the viewers could not disagree. Civil rights of women, unjust stigma of mental illness, the revenge of the nerds.

Americans are suckers for the underdog. If you want to engender sympathy for a character, make them suffer persecution, unfairness, injustice. In other words, make them a victim. The ultimate power of the extreme violence of the The Passion of the Christ was that it basically made Jesus the most unjustly brutalized victim in the history of cinema. Which is really necessary since the point was to make him the savior of the world through suffering, so Gibson had to maximize that suffering to make the emotional connection in the viewer with the grandiosity of the redemption. This is why many liberals, in a fit of outright contradiction, hated The Passion as being “obsessively gory” but fully embraced the equal brutality of 12 Years a Slave as being “redemptive,” though both movies were doing the exact same thing. Because such viewers do not want to give religion the same redemptive power as race.

The thematic cleverness of The Imitation Game lies in its montage connection of Turing’s homosexuality with his genius and with all these other civil rights issues with which we have all come to agree upon. The movie creates a touching tragic homosexual love story from Turing’s past to show his deep pain of loss. And then it lays it on heavy with a bookend story of Turing’s tragic arrest and conviction of his homosexual acts in a time and place in British history where it was illegal. Who wouldn’t feel sorry for the suffering of chemical castration that he had to endure as a legal penalty? Again, more victimization, more emotional sympathy.

It will never occur to many viewers that there is no rational justification for claiming sexual behavior as an innate civil right, that there is no logical or rational connection between Turing’s homosexuality and his genius, his saving the world, or other civil rights protections. There doesn’t have to be. An emotional connection was made through montage and analogy, and that is just as powerful on the viewer’s psyche. Emotionally, the viewer feels the connection of Turing’s homosexual identity with greatness and with saving the world. The irrational, yet emotional conclusion is that to be against homosexuality is to be against greatness and saving the world.

This is the very reason why homosexual activists have been successfully commandeering school curriculums across the US to teach historical “contributions of homosexuals.” Even though their sexuality has nothing to do with their achievements, by emphasizing that identity through indoctrination, they will emotionally manipulate society to accept it as normal, or be ostracized as homophobic bigoted haters who will stop great achievements from saving the world simply by disagreeing with the morality of homosexuality. No logical or rational arguments are allowed.

Ad300x250-IncarnSubverCoded messages are creatively embedded in the story to subvert the viewer though analogy. Here’s how its done. The storyteller makes an argument with which the viewer agrees, by using phrases that are common with an argument with which the viewer may not agree. So, when Alan is explaining how machines and human minds are different, he says, “The question is, just because a machine thinks differently than you, does that mean it is not thinking? We allow such differences with humans. He have different tastes, different preferences. Our brains work differently.” Though these statements are about one area of scientific differences, they clearly reflect the common framing of the homosexual debate as “sexual preferences” rather than sexual morals, and the already discredited attempt to say brains of homosexuals are different by nature. You know, “born this way.” In this way, emotions can persuade contrary to the facts and reason.

The ultimate argument for normalizing homosexuality is the complete deconstruction of “normal,” to the point where people have contempt for “normality” by spinning it as being unrealistic, even destructive. At the end of The Imitation Game, Alan is depressed and envious of Joan’s “normal life.” But she then says that no one normal could have done what he did. She explains a litany of things like trains and tunnels and people that would not exist if it were not for him saving the world through decoding Enigma. She says, “If you wish you were normal, I can say that I certainly do not. The world is an infinitely better place precisely because you weren’t normal.”

A detective who figured out Alan’s secret sex life, after hearing his story of decoding Enigma, says, “I can’t judge you.”

So, now the emotional connection is reinforced between “judging” (that nasty evil word in our multiculty world) and “normality” (that wicked evil claim of Christians about sexuality). Really, this becomes a subversive intolerance and hatred of normal as evil.

Rational arguments are neatly subverted by the power of emotional ones in this beautifully crafted masterpiece of emotional montage. It’s really quite impressive propaganda. I think Christians could learn a thing or two from it that they should apply to their shabbily crafted celluloid sermons.

But there is another comparison with Christians and homosexuals in this world war of stories. The victimization of the homosexual in The Imitation Game is exactly reversed in the movie, Unbroken, about the Christian Louis Zamperini and his suffering as a WWII POW. It really typifies the reversal of what I think is going on in our culture where those who disagree with homosexual practice are now being targeted for their identities and oppressed through social bigotry and Christophobia (businesses and careers destroyed, smear campaigns of hate). In The Imitation Game, the homosexual identity is connected with the story of greatness, while in Unbroken, the Christian identity is disconnected from the story of greatness.

And who is the one whose identity is being oppressed?


Borgen: A Rare Honest Atheist Self-Reflection in a Godless Danish TV Show



I got caught up in the Danish TV Series Borgen (available on Netflix). It’s the story of Birgitte Nyborg, who becomes the Prime Minister of Denmark and how that position of power affects her personal and political life in both positive and negative ways. I tell people it’s like House of Cards, but without murder and cynicism. More like Naïve European Humanism J. In fact, I would have thought I would not like it, because I am usually bored and turned off by political preaching in movies and shows. Not only that, but this is an obvious Feminist AND Socialist narrative! But hey, I’m willing to admit great human drama and storytelling regardless of the agenda. And this is fantastic human drama and storytelling. (But beware, I did warn you)

Of course, they pretend to be “Center” in their depiction by making Birgitte a part of the “Moderates.” Though usually they are not, sometimes they actually are, such as her revelation that pulling out of Afghanistan would only worsen the violence and deaths (something our own king could learn from). One episode, they completely missed their own point when they showed the Prime Minister use private healthcare for her own daughter while hypocritically supporting their socialized system (“We don’t want to be like America”). Why? Because of the ungodly wait in line for rationed healthcare. Duh. Okay for the public, but not for us important lawmakers (I guess they are just like America after all). But she never changed her policy, and that showed that the storytellers wanted to “deal with the issue,” but never faced the consequences of their own argument.

The only thoroughly despicable person in the show, of whom it is assumed you can NEVER compromise with, is the leader of the Freedom Party, who is depicted in the worst stereotype of being a fat obnoxious pig with bad teeth. Can you guess what side the Freedom Party represents? No-brainer: The Far Right. Also, the show is very Politically Correct in that they never dealt with the raving Islamism problem in any of their episodes.

Ad300x250-ArtMoviesWorldOne particularly repugnant moment of anti-Christian prejudice in the show was on an episode about two African parties at war over their country— actually, more like an Islamic party killing Christians who start to protect themselves, which is the actual scenario in Africa. Anyway, in order to make both sides have a negative aspect to them, the storytellers chose to have the Christian look all nice, but then have as his uncompromising agenda that the only ones who should not have rights in their country are homosexuals. And then he says “We have no homosexuals here” with a smile, thus revealing an oppression in denial. The tragic irony is that very statement in our real world came not from a Christian, but from Ahmadinejad, the head of an ISLAMIC country, Iran. So putting Islamic oppression into the character of a Christian is despicably dishonest and Christophobic. But that’s what you get from secular bigots.

Sorry, I had to get my rants about some of the political BS first.

The morality of the show is also very European and sadly alienating. Family is the least important of values to these people. But there is a bright shining ray of an adulterer who returns to his family, so it is not cynical. I think they were just depicting their reality, and the Danes accept it because of their godlessness. They don’t know any better, the poor secular socialists.

All that said, you might think I hate the show. But I don’t. Surprise, surprise. Why? Because the human drama and relationships are riveting with pathos. And watching Danish politics, as different from American politics as it is, is fascinating. It is well written, brilliantly cast, brilliantly acted, brilliantly directed. All human beings, regardless of their worldview leak God’s image through their work in the snippets of human truth they capture. For instance, there is a kind of moral lesson to observing the anatomy of the breakdown of a family in a tragic kind of way, even if these storytellers consider it acceptable “collateral damage” for Feminist victories and the great teat-sucking socialist state. We see Birgitte seeking to “do good” for her country, while she loses her marriage and family. In fact, the same thing happens to those in the newsroom covering the politics 24/7.

Also, there is a kind of realpolitik of compromise in that country because of their multiple parties that force them to negotiate in a way that American politics does not. Yet, even here, I found it ironic that the very thing that the politicians wanted, compromise, was NOT what the electorate wanted, because the thing that made Birgitte such a populist hero was precisely her standing out from the crowd by not playing the game and sticking to her uncompromising convictions. Hmmmmm. Maybe we’re not all that different. It’s a fair depiction of seeking to balance convictions with the reality of governing with people with whom you disagree. As Birgitte says to one of the radical Greens who challenge her, “You are the leader of the Green Party. I am the Prime Minister of a country that includes those who disagree with me.” Humans everywhere make backroom deals and negotiate for personal reasons as much as public ones.

KIND OF SPOILER ALERT: Anyway, the real reason that inspired this post was that the show is godless. God is nowhere to be found in this Danish story and their characters lives. It is quite empty. But near the very end of the last season, the heroine Birgitte discovers she may have breast cancer (Don’t worry, I won’t tell you if she does or if she does not and how it plays out).

Ad300x250-StoryWorldPersuasionI just thought, that this scene of how she responds to the news was the most profound moment of the entire show, because it showed the real despair that atheist pursuers of “meaning” and “good” should really face about their delusions in light of the implications of their own worldview. It was like one spiritual glimpse behind the curtain of a very secular humanistic story. A shred of honesty in a godless world of self-deception. (I do not think the storytellers are intending a Judeo-Christian worldview in this revelation, because the whole of the show goes against it. I just think that even atheists can have a moment of honesty if they want to tell a good story).

Of course, you won’t get the full impact if you haven’t lived with this character and with her victories and defeats, her gains and her losses, but I hope you can still pick it up. And don’t be fooled by vague references to prayer in the clip, that was just a colloquial blurt. It is more a metaphor for fate without a god, because there has been no spirituality the entire show.

Enjoy a rare moment of honesty from an atheist worldview…


The King’s Speech

A British period drama about a commoner speech therapist who helped King George VI overcome a stuttering problem right around the start of WWII. In this sure Oscar movie, Lionel Logue is the commoner who is enlisted by George’s tireless wife, Queen Elizabeth after an endless list of other doctors who have failed to help the weary Duke of York with his persistent childhood curse. What starts as a simple story of royalty and plebian culture clash quickly becomes a transcendent tale of the equality of man and the victory of strength in defeating evil.

Logue’s eccentric techniques of physical exercise and psychotherapeutic exploration of the stuttering origins provide the dramatic scenario for these two men to break through their cultural barriers and make a human connection. For Logue’s approach to work, he must have complete control and authority over the patient within his domain, which violates the exclusionary protocol of aristocracy that has been the only experience of George VI. Ironically, Logue’s exclusive access to this personal world of “Bertie” as he was called by only family results in a friendship that would last the rest of his life. In a world of isolated royal loneliness, Bertie finds human connection with a person of social status that was excluded within his cultural prejudice.

When he discovers that Logue is not only a commoner, he is NOT the doctor that Bertie had assumed (sin of sins!), their relationship is almost destroyed, until a rousing speech by Logue proves the very American egalitarian notion of pragmatic results over titles and social status. All the doctors in England could not help Bertie, but Logue’s practical experience as a WWI soldier helping his fellow soldiers overcome shell shock gives this self-made man true equality with any establishment academic or privileged aristocrat. The American Revolution won all over again. Bertie’s compassion for the common man becomes real when he finds his own privilege masks a prejudice.

Of course, Logue himself learns that such equality cannot be abused to violate authority. In one particularly beautiful line of the movie, at the end, both men gain a renewed appreciation for each other when the King calls Bertie “my friend” outside the therapy room, but Logue responds with “your majesty.”

But the King’s Speech is also a bigger picture story about the need for leadership to guide a nation to rise up in strength against evil. A nation gains its fortitude and it’s inspiration from its leaders. The climax of the movie is the King’s need to give his declaration of war against Germany, the greatest of sacrifices. Yet, until then, he had not been able to get through a public speech if his life depended upon it. Walking into the recording booth, he knew that Hitler would exploit his display of weakness (much as Islamists exploit western duplicity in avoiding swift justice against terrorism). If the King of England could not speak to his own nation about sacrifice and warfare because of a stuttering weakness in the face of the Nazi evil, where would the people draw their strength from to join him in the highest of sacrifices? Completing that speech without barely a stutter marked the entry of the English into the War with a fearless strength that would make Germany shudder. Yes, Churchill was the real hero who came from behind the scenes to the limelight, but it all started with the figurehead of their culture standing strong and unwavering, or in this metaphor, unstuttering. A powerful tale of victory and the triumph of the human spirit that means more than personal victory over individual problems.

The Last Station

Based on the true story of famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s last year of life, 1910. This is a “love/hate story” about the traumatic relationship that Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) had with his wife of 48 years, the Countess Sofya, played by Helen Mirren. It’s told through the eyes of a young neophyte Tolstoyan, Valentin, who is hired to be a secretary to Leo. It is a clash of worldviews as Leo seeks to rid himself of private property and deed all the rights of his writing to the public domain, while his wife pleads for him to not do so in order to take care of his family. They are madly in love with each other, yet also hatefully at odds with each other’s politics. And this results in a passionate recklessness of extremes in their reactions to one another.

There is a Tolstoyan commune of people seeking to live without property and in moral purity, something not easily accomplished as Valentin immediately falls for Sasha, a girl who defies the rules and they begin a torrid sex affair. The irony of Tolstoy’s position is brought out as we see his followers refer to him as a kind of Jesus Christ, and yet deviously plot to have him sign away his works to the public domain, “for the people.” Sofya is outwardly portrayed as a desperate clutching paranoid gold digger worried about a conspiracy to manipulate Leo into changing his will, yet she is also displayed as not only being right about the conspiracy, but the only one who has been loyal to Tolstoy, to his happiness, the only one honest about his humanity and faults, and the only one who passionately loves him.

It’s as if this film is showing the clash between socialism and capitalism, a reflection of the current political debates we find ourselves in.

The young secretary enters the commune with pure ideology, which draws the cynical Sasha, but he also comes to see both sides of Leo and Sofya and ends up painfully unwilling to trash Sofya as all the other conspirators do because he sees her depth of true love for Leo. It’s as if the movie is showing us that ideology like socialism, which negates private property and prioritizes the public over the private, ends up destroying the passion and life of individuals in the name of “the cause” while the apparent selfishness of free market capitalism with its priority of private property ends up creating the freedom out of which true love and human individuality is bred. Sofya is not without her selfish and histrionic faults and Leo is not without virtue for his ideals, which is what makes this story an honest portrayal instead of propaganda.

As the conspirators draw Leo away to hiding, in order to let him write his great work which Sofya seems to be impeding, Leo is nevertheless depicted as needing her for his very breath in order to live. It is their passionate love that draws them unstoppably together, but it is their philosophies that draw them apart. As stated in the film, “To love and be loved is the only reality,” and “love is what it is all about.” Leo tells his secretary that the one thing that all religions have in common is love, that it is “love that binds all mankind together.” And in this story, it is love of individuals that transcends ideology of the community.

Evidently, Tolstoy had rejected the Russian Orthodox church (another reflection of socialism is the negation of religion) and his followers are so concerned that Sofya will visit him and bring about a death bed conversion back to the church, that they seek unsuccessfully to keep her from him as he dies. As Leo’s ideologue friend Vladimir tells the naïve secretary, “A deathbed conversion will destroy everything. A simple noble death is what we want.” In other words, the truth and the individual must be sacrificed to the movement or the ideology. At this ending, just before Sofya is brought in by the now more realist Valentin, she tells Vladimir “You want to create an image of YOU, not HIM.” And so it seems this story shows that those who seek to build movements and ideologies over the individual and love will end up manipulating the individual and controlling others.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

This is a Holocaust movie of a different approach. It tells the story of the loss of innocence through the eyes of a young German boy, the son of an SS officer. The family moves into the woods just barely out of sight of the concentration camp that the father is in charge of. But father avoids telling his family what he is really doing, presumably from shame. The little boy, Bruno spies the work camp from his bedroom window and assumes it is a farm where everyone wears striped pajamas. He sneaks his way over there and befriends a young Jewish boy in the camp and spends time with him talking and playing games through the electrified fence. Bruno never quite figures out what is going on, but his grandma knows, and his mother soon finds out, and summarily falls into depression and angry resentment of her husband. But the film does not fall into stereotypes of females being against the Nazi vision and males being warmongers, as the boy Bruno never comprehends the darkness – his innocence protecting him – yet his older sister embraces it and becomes a Hitler Youth in her affections. We see Bruno’s confusion over the treatment of Jewish servants as subhuman, and in that comparison lies the film’s critique of cultures of death that always need to redefine those they wish to dispose of as less than human in order to salve the conscience. The power of this story lies in its ending, because the little boy becomes so united in soul with his little Jewish friend, that he sneaks into the camp and dresses in the “striped pajamas” in order to help the Jewish boy find his “lost” father, who we know has been burned in the ovens that fill the skies with smoke from their stacks. This movie is the serious version of It’s a Beautiful Life. In the latter, innocence was maintained through a humorous deception of the father, but in this story, innocence is required to be a victim of evil in order to show the willingness of self-deception in a society that justifies atrocities. As Bruno is in the camp, the story ends with him being corralled with other prisoners and being gassed in the showers with his little friend as his father seeks him too late. What makes this deeply disturbing and sad ending so uniquely powerful is that Bruno’s innocent friendship becomes the ultimate unity in death with the innocent Jewish boy in a way that could not even be captured with a deliberately chosen sacrifice. At the moment when the father realizes his son has been killed, one is convinced that he will abandon the ideology completely because he can no longer avoid the inhumanity of what he is doing. It is a backdoor portrayal of the golden rule of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is an embodiment of the classic informal argument “What if it was YOUR family member who received the consequences of your beliefs?”

The Downfall

Recommended. I confess a morbid fascination with what went on down in that Fuehrerbunker during the last ten days of Hitler’s Germany. And this German movie delivers with brilliance and verisimilitude. Bruno Ganz as Hitler is absolutely incredibly frighteningly real. In fact, all of the men, Himmler, Goebbels, and others are eerie look alikes that accomplish the goal chillingly to the bone. The descent into madness of this titan of evil accurately portrays the irrationality of evil. When a man is so consumed with evil motive, reality will soon crush him, as it does here on Hitler. And this is one of the best Anti-evolution movies ever. As Hitler and his high men use the language of Darwin, we see the logical fruit of the atheist evolutionary worldview. They weed out the weak and unfit members of society. They trample over the people who are in the way of their pursuit of Triumph for the German people. When evolution allegedly destroys the foundation for all moral claims and truth claims by reducing reality to chance and eliminating Intelligence, then there is simply absolutely NO moral outrage that is justifiable against Nazism. If it is the strongest, then it kills the weak to further its survival. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say there is no morality or truth because of your theory and then cry “unfair” or “false” when a society lives consistently with that dictum. Who are you to impose your morality on the Germans anyway? Or to impose YOUR version of evolution? Your moral views have already been reduced to conventions of your own ignorance and chance. And your views of what evolution SHOULD BE are simply social constructs YOU created for your survival. Which is merely in competition with others’ views. And may the strongest man win. Cooperation is the morality of the weak in a consistent evolutionary worldview. That’s one complaint I had about the film: No Nietszsche references, another origin of Nazism and 20th century evil. These mealy mouthed Western evolutionists who claim there is no morality, survival of the fittest, etc. etc. and then cry like babies that societies take that belief to its logical conclusion? They complain when the Supermen move beyond good and evil? Namely the weeding out of the weak and sickly members of society for the health of the whole. So, the fact of the matter is that atheist evolution gives justification to genocide and Christianity is the only bulwark against such thinking. These antichrists who attack religion (read: Christianity) as evil and the cause of evil in this world, are so stupid not to realize that they are letting the pit bull out of the cage, and there is nothing to protect them any longer. Well, I simply say, what did you expect when you convinced people that there is no transcendent morality and hell is a fantasy and people are mere animals? Did you expect them to act morally and polite? Or according to YOUR morals? The darkness of loyalty to National Socialism as political salvation is frighteningly true to the Far Left Wing religious zealots in this country who believe that the government will save us, save the poor, save the sick, save the old, save us from ourselves. instead of us taking responsibility for our own lives. We see the young woman hero of the story follow her Fuehrer like a Monica Lewinsky, just worshipping his saviorhood, just dying to light his cigar to serve his greatness. To see the dedication to evil that occurs in those who are not dedicated to a Transcendent God, but to some political salvation was scary. Goebbels’ wife kills all five of her children because she can’t imagine them living in a world without National Socialism. It was just brutal. One saving grace of the film was how much suicide was accomplished by so many of these true believers in political salvation and National Socialism. In a twisted way, it was good to see the self-destruction that such loyalty breeds in Socialism. Made me think of the politicians dedicated to their political salvation religions rather than the living God and His Law. There are only two choices in government: Theonomy or Autonomy. If man is not ruled by God’s Law, then he will be ruled by Man’s Law, and man’s law always ends in tyranny. That made me truly frightened for my country.

The Passion of the Christ

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Opening in February 2004. Let me say right out that this is, for me, the most profound and true movie ever made about Jesus Christ. “true” because it captures what no other Christ movie has in regard to his suffering. And it is Christ’s suffering that is the essence of atonement for sins. It focuses on the “Passion” of suffering that Christ had to experience in his last 12 hours on earth. The reason why I believe this is so crucial to its greatness is because the depth of the suffering is a reflection of the power of the redemption. The verse that is shown at the beginning of the movie says it all and sets the context for understanding everything that follows. Isaiah 53:5 “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities, by his stripes we are healed.” This movie is about understanding just what that means. So it starts with the Garden of Gethsemane and ends with the Resurrection. Well, let me tell you. All I can say, is “it’s about time.” It’s about time someone captured the meaning of Christ’s suffering and death in a dramatic way that touches the soul beyond words. I think of all the other films about Jesus, and how they all include his doctrinal teaching along with a third act about his death and resurrection. Well, that is good and I’ve liked them all in one way or another, but for movies, I have to say that the preaching part can get a little preachy and drawn out. The teachings of Christ are just not as suited to visual dramatic storytelling. Not that there’s not a place for them. But what the Passion of Christ does is capture the essence of his teachings through a visceral experience. I wrote in my article about “Jesus in the Movies” that all Jesus movies tend to reflect the era they are made in, the prevailing zeitgeist. So, the first Jesus movies, made more in an era of belief, tended to emphasize his deity, and the later movies, made in an era of skepticism tended to emphasize his humanity or worse, make him out to be sinful. The Passion is brilliant in that it is a postmodern experience of Christ. It is gritty and realistic in its portrayal of what Christ suffered — I mean what he really suffered. Very human, very Existential. All other Jesus movies are revisionist candy coated schmaltz compared to this one. But that is good for this generation. This pomo GenY yada yada generation speaks with gritty, in your face attitude. REALITY, baby, that’s what we want. Well we get REALITY all right, we get it all, from the flesh ripping scourging to the actual nails pounded into the hands (most movies cut away at the pounding, but Gibson does not) Rather than focusing on the didactic teaching as a modernist movie would have done, The Passion has almost none of the teaching and goes straight for the gut. It captures the experience of Christ for people. This is not to say that rational teaching is not appropriate, but merely that Mr. Gibson is achieving a communication of the Gospel of redemption in a way that transcends other Jesus movies and meets the postmodern where he is at. I almost believe his original intent to not have subtitles would work, the images are that central to the story. Of course, I am thankful that he did have subtitles, because truth be told, I do believe that words fill out what image cannot. Image without word is incomplete. So the balance between word and image here is astounding and profound. EVERYONE MUST GO SEE THIS MOVIE.