“Risen” is the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer. Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a powerful Roman military tribune, and his aide, Lucius (Tom Felton), are tasked with solving the mystery of what happened to Jesus in the weeks following the crucifixion, in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.
Directed by Kevin Reynolds, “Risen” shares a new perspective on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ through not only the eyes of a non-believer, but a Roman soldier.
For those who haven’t been paying attention, there has been a rise in mainstream Hollywood talent being featured in faith-based cinema. In “Risen” the most notable face you’ll see is probably that of Tom Felton (Harry Potter, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and some may recognize Cliff Curtis (Fear the Walking Dead, Gang Related, Training Day), who plays Jesus Christ.
The film touches on the death, burial, and resurrection in roughly 30-45 minutes. Everything after that is a mix of fiction with biblical events. The film begins with Clavius roaming across the desert and stopping at what looks like an inn. After being questioned about where he came from, the story begins as we flashback to the very beginning, when Pilate (Peter Firth) first spoke of the ‘Nazarene nuisance.’
Although the film is set in the days of Jesus, the events and the film’s direction mirror present-day conflicts that are witnessed everyday. Do we believe, or do we not? Even after Clavius witnessed Christ’s return face to face, he still questioned whether what he saw was real. Everyday, people witness miraculous occurrences but wrestle internally if there’s logic behind it, or was it truly a miracle?
One thing is for sure, Clavius was not about to let others decide the truth for him. He went out on his own and risked everything to find the truth, which led him on a life-changing adventure. I give ‘Risen’ a 7 out of 10. It’s nice to see the Resurrection from an untold perspective, but there are more than a few slow moments in the film. Enough fiction to satisfy Hollywood balanced with enough Bible that believers can recognize the events taking place.