“However much you might play at seeing his work as just another movie, Gibson has gone outside the normal bounds of show business and into the territory of America’s religious absolutists: John Ashcroft having himself anointed with oil, gay-hating lawmakers attempting to write Leviticus into the Constitution, antiabortionists shooting to kill, generals declaring holy war against the Muslim infidel. Our country has a great, great many such people who do not consider their convictions to be open to discussion. They maintain a significant hold on political power; and since a lot of them have an antinomian streak, I doubt the rule of law would stand in their way, should we manage to loosen their grip. The ever-boyish and ingenuous Gibson, with his simple faith, has made The Passion of the Christ as a gift for these people.
“Thumbs down.” - Stuart Klawans in The Nation