.- The renowned film-reviewing duo, Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper, has given Mel Gibsonâs film âThe Passion of The Christâ their highest trademark rating: two thumbs way up.
The pair offered an early review of the movie, which will hit theaters Feb. 25, on their syndicated series âEbert & Roeper.â
âThis is the most powerful, important and by far the most graphic interpretation of Christ's final hours ever put on film,â said Roeper, calling Gibson âa masterful storyteller.â
Ebert said it is the only religious movie he has even seen, with the exception of âThe Gospel According to St. Matthewâ, âthat really seems to deal with what actually happened.â
The movie âfocuses relentlessly on the price that Christ paid for redemption and it emphasizes that Jesus wanted this to happen,â said Ebert. âHis death was the instrument of his purpose, and we should be grateful to him instead of critical of those who were the instruments of his will.
âI don't think the movie is anti-Semitic,â said Ebert, addressing the filmâs controversy that has swept the media. Roeper added that the movie âdoes not blame all Jews past and present for the death of Jesus.â
âChrist was born as a Jew, his disciples were Jewish,â said Ebert. âYes, some Jewish priests call for his death. They were threatened by his assault on their establishment. â¦ Most of the Jews in this movie are horrified by what they see.â