What makes ‘The Passion’ any different? That it’s based on a true story? ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ had its roots in a true story too! So did ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’! So, it can’t really be that.
Is it that it’s not gratuitously gory? I haven’t seen it, so I’m not one to judge on that – for all I know, all the blood and the whipping and the suffering may be very tastefully done! Again, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ pulls that off too, as have others. Let’s not forget ‘Psycho’ is the ancestor of all these movies, and it just doesn’t shock anyone any more. Chocolate syrup spiraling down a showerdrain isn’t gratuitous by our standards.
Is it that it’s a story that holds deep personal significance for you? That sounds pretty reasonable. The story has meaning for you, it’s okay, it’s even good – don’t mind the gore, you can’t tell the story without it. It gives you a powerful visual fable to anchor your faith, and perhaps to try to reach out to others, to say ‘see? this is what he went through, for all of us’.
But for all that, it’s still just a movie, and when taken objectively not really all that different from any other violent film. It’s perfectly fine to like it, but please, don’t even try holding your nose when one comes up that isn’t about Jesus, because I just don’t buy it.
I’m kind of weird about gore. If it’s well-executed, fine. I haven’t hated anything by Takashi Miike or Quentin Tarantino yet. When it’s done over-the-top and badly, like in the GWAR movies, then I can have problems. ‘Saw’ was a stinker for other reasons.