Boring, stilted, awkward, only intermittently interesting, horribly performed by Harvey Keitel (not sure what to make of Dafoe)...honestly I found the ending of LIFE OF BRIAN to be more profound!
This was an enormously dissatisfying film on just about every level. I thought Dafoe did an amazing job (within the parameters of the role as written). But its low budget is obvious in every frame, with no real sets to speak of, and you can tell the Roman legionaries are all the same five guys (Life of Brian actually had more convincing sets, costumes, etc.).
Peter Gabriel's risible score didn't help things, sounding like a blend of some hippie drum circle and 80s pop music tracks, and its heavy use of synthesizers only accentuates the film's low production value.
And what most audiences didn't realize was that the "psychadelic" colors at the end of the movie were not some intentional optical effect, but in fact the camera running out of film! During loading and unloading, the outer layers of roll of film invariably get exposed to light and thus "fogged". Those few feet of film are of course never used (except by Martin Scorsese I guess).
I've also never quite understood why critics attacked The Passion for its excessive violence and gore...when they had praised Last Temptation, which was arguably as violent (and even included a nutty "Temple of Doom"-style moment when "Jesus" reaches into his body and pulls-out his bloody heart to show to his disciples).
This film does get points for showing the crucifixion as it really was (victims were in fact nailed through the wrists, and hung naked on the cross) but that's about all Last Temptation got right.
It baffles me that the filmmakers and Universal were actually "surprised" that people were offended by scenes of "Jesus" making crosses for the Romans and actually helping
them crucify people. Can you imagine Ghandi containing a scene where the title character helps the English execute Indian criminals, or Malcolm X depicting its protagonist aiding the KKK?