Trey Sanchez, writing at Ben Shapiro's Truth Revolt, reveals that America's film critics are maintaining a shocking double standard:
Rotten Tomatoes, the popular movie review website, has unwittingly revealed an evolution amongst film critics over the last ten years when it comes to portraying torture. The brutal violence in the 2004 movie "The Passion of the Christ" is senseless and distracting from the plot, whereas that same violence almost ten years later in "12 Years A Slave," is central to the plot.Are Hemingway and Sanchez suggesting that this is part of the War on Christianity? Yeah, pretty much. Hemingway:
This discovery, by Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist, shows the rampant hypocrisy that is alive and well in Hollywood and in the media....
Hemingway points to the two reviews from Rotten Tomatoes for both movies to highlight her claim. "12 Years a Slave" gets a "Certified Fresh" 98 percent rating and its summary states:
It's far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave’s unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant -- and quite possibly essential -- cinema.Contrast that with this review of "The Passion of the Christ." It gets a "splat" at a meager 49 percent.
The graphic details of Jesus' torture make the movie tough to sit through and obscure whatever message it is trying to convey.
Did critics evolve or did something else happen? Film critic Victor Morton suggests that "The average bobo critic sees [12 Years A Slave protagonist] Solomon Northup as a more worthwhile and relevant Christ figure than the original."("Film critic Victor Morton"? That would be the proprietor of the blog Rightwing Film Geek. Twitter tagline: "I was raised on Blackpool postcards and Benny Hill and I turned out a censorious religious nut.")
I've seen both The Passion of the Christ and 12 Years a Slave. 12 Years a Slave is a frequently violent film about the enslavement of a human being. The Passion of the Christ is a unrelentingly violent film about a piece of meat that happens to live and breathe while being brutalized. Mel Gibson's Jesus is not human and not divine, or he may as well not be -- he's just a canvas for violence. In 12 Years a Slave, we see Solomon Northrup and other slaves endeavoring to be human -- thinking, talking, having human reactions to their lives. In The Passion of the Christ, both the humanity and (if you believe in it) divinity of Christ are just bits of backstory. Gibson's Christ barely touches on the message of the Gospels. Sanchez and Hemingway think critics' rejection of Gibson's movie is a rejection of Jesus' message, but Jesus' message is all but absent from The Passion of the Christ.
How much of The Passion of the Christ is devoted to pure violence? Roger Ebert wrote, "The movie is 126 minutes long, and I would guess that at least 100 of those minutes, maybe more, are concerned specifically and graphically with the details of the torture and death of Jesus." A review at the website of the United Methodist Church says the film contains "more than 90 minutes of graphic even sadistic violence." This is far more screen time devoted to violence than in 12 Years a Slave. That's because 12 Years a Slave is a film about slavery, of which violence was a key part; The Passion of the Christ is a film about violence.
Well, Hemingway and Sanchez's line of argument could be worse -- back in October, Investor's Business Daily published an editorial that described the makers of 12 Years a Slave and The Butler as "racial arsonists who leave truth on the cutting room floor." (The Butler, you see, took liberties with its real-life subject's story, while 12 Years a Slave, according to IBD, is supposed to be a true story but was probably all made up: "historians suspect much of the story -- which recounts cringingly graphic tales of skin-stripping floggings and paddle-breaking beatings -- is apocryphal." And who are you gonna believe on that, the unnamed experts IBD cites, or Henry Louis Gates, "the Friend of Barack who cried racism after police detained him at his Cambridge townhome a few years ago"?)
Accompanying the IBD editorial is the cover image of one edition of Twelve Years a Slave. IBD provides this caption:
Are race-horror movies, such as "12 Years a Slave," a brutal depiction of slavery, an effort by Hollywood to advance a political agenda and intentionally inflame racial tensions?If 12 Years a Slave wins a Best Picture, expect quite a bit more of this.