The headline on the Washington Post review summed it up: "'Passion' Is A Gory Take On A Gentle Teacher's Violent End". Somebody's confusing their Gospel with Godspell. A few days before the "violent end", the gentle teacher had been hurling tables around in the temple. And, even if you overlook the rough stuff, rhetorically Christ was as forceful as He was gentle.
That's the real argument over The Passion Of The Christ. It's not between Christians and Jews, but between believing Christians and the broader post-Christian culture, a term that covers a large swathe from the media to your average Anglican vicar. Some in this post-Christian culture don't believe anything, some are riddled with doubts, but even the ones with only a vague residual memory of the fluffier Sunday School stories are agreed that there's little harm in a Jesus figure who's a "gentle teacher". In this world, if Jesus came back today he'd most likely be a gay Anglican bishop in a committed relationship driving around in an environmentally-friendly car with an "Arms Are For Hugging" sticker on the way to an interfaith dialogue with a Wiccan and a couple of Wahhabi imams. If that's your boy, Mel Gibson's movie is not for you.
Indeed, although Mel is Catholic, his Passion became a hit thanks to evangelical Protestants – those who believe the Bible is the literal truth and not a "useful narrative" culminating in what the Bishop of Durham called a "conjuring trick with bones". Instead of Jesus the wimp, Mel gives us Jesus the Redeemer. He died for our sins – ie, the "violent end" is the critical bit, not just an unfortunate misunderstanding cruelly cutting short a promising career in gentle teaching. The followers of Wimp Jesus seem to believe He died to license our sins – Jesus loves us for who we are so whatever's your bag is cool with Him.