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The Passion of the Christ

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It’s been assessed from every angle, so let’s turn the other cheek and look at Mel Gibson’s labor of love strictly on the merits of the extras. Is this Passion the Definitive Edition (R, 142 mins., 2004) it claims to be?

ORIGINAL
No bonuses, unless you count the Aramaic-deciphering subtitles that Gibson had originally intended to eschew.

REISSUE
Unrelenting material: four commentaries with the cinematographer, the composer, the visual-effects designer, the second-unit director, a few theologians, Gibson, and more; a feature-length making-of covering such topics as ”Evil Personified,” ”Guerrilla Marketing,” and ”Jim Suffering” (as Jesus, Jim Caviezel was flayed and frozen, struck by lightning, and had to do ”a lot of lunges and squats” to ”build up my quads”); a sober sided featurette with crucifixion experts, one of whom calls the practice ”the most wretched of deaths”; a dissection of the all-too-real wound makeup; and ruminations on everything from Caravaggio to Gibson’s use of a clown nose while directing.

VERDICT
Definitive. Where else can you see the devil, played by Rosalinda Celentano, say ”Mel Gibson, you are crazy” (after he suggested that she lick a costar)?

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