Beyond Jesus's inner circle of Disciples, relatives and Mary Magdalene, there's barely a single sympathetic character in the entirety of devoted director Mel Gibson's passion project "The Passion of The Christ."

Pontius Pilate, the tyrannical Roman governor on whose word the crucifixion went forward, gets a pass as a conflicted guy who was just doing his job -- killing Jesus to prevent a rebellion from a mob of frenzied Jews angry over his perceived as blasphemous preachings. Pilate's wife Claudia is a convert and therefore shown in a good light. There's a Jewish girl who tries to give Jesus water as he carries the cross on which he'll die through the streets of Jerusalem and a peasant father who has a religious epiphany by helping the now beaten bloody Jesus carry said cross.

Aside from a few people crying as Jesus is dragged past them, that's about it. Everyone else in this film seems to be a villain -- be they Roman guards who laugh maniacally (like James Bond movie henchmen) while whipping Jesus until his shredded skin looks like bloody, lumpy oatmeal, or be they Jewish hoards whipped into a frenzy by temple leaders, or be they the viciously evangelical rabbis themselves, whose spiteful rhetoric against his "heresy" sounds an awful lot like what still to this day comes from behind some pulpits and political podiums.

Continue reading: The Passion Of The Christ Review