Saturday, February 28, 2004

Hitchens Vs. Gibson

Christopher Hitchens doesn't exactly have a history of amity where Catholics are concerned. Consider his ruminations on Mother Theresa, for example. So we shouldn't be surprised at his thoughts on Mel Gibson and his new movie:
A coward, a bully, a bigmouth, and a queer-basher. Yes, we have been here before. The word is fascism, in case you are wondering, and we don't have to sit through that movie again.
Hitchens actually makes some convincing headway with his argument that Gibson's fascination with Christ's suffering borders on the fascistic. Outright fascism isn't going to be tolerated in the United States these days, but we do see its slightly more sophisticated 21st century cousin here all the time.

Other opinions:
Quentin Tarantino, if given the same subject, almost certainly would have made a meeker film. - Stephen Prothero
The underlying conception seems to be to take a particularly gory painterly representation of Jesus on the cross—the German Lucas Cranach (1472-1553) particularly comes to mind—and to do a very long sequence of overlapping takes, each meant to evoke a painting of the agonizing Jesus done in somber oil colors. Imagine a slide show of nearly identical Cranachs going on for two hours and you have something of the effect of Gibson's cinema of cruelty. - Robert Alter
What does this protracted exercise in sadomasochism have to do with Christian faith? I'm asking; I don't know. - David Edelstein

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