I havent seen The Passion yet. My wife & I avoided the first week because we generally avoid long lines at movies. Were still hesitating, though, because the reviews say the movie is so violent. Our doubts reminded me, however, of this excellent posting by Spencer Warren on the Claremont Institutes website.
The short of it--really good movie directors appreciate that the way to impress a movie audience is not to show the violence on the screen, but instead to suggest it off-screen in a way that makes the audiences imagination do more of the work. This rule of thumb stems from a classical understanding of art, and in particular a classical understanding of the objects and limitations of visual art. If Warren (and the classics) are right, The Passion may suffer on an artistic level. But well have to go see the movie to judge for ourselves.