Risen (2016)

Risen (2016)
  • Time: 107 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Drama
  • Director: Kevin Reynolds
  • Cast: Tom Felton, Joseph Fiennes, Cliff Curtis, Peter Firth


Follows the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer. Clavius, a powerful Roman Military Tribune, and his aide Lucius, 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.

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  • Every year, Lent comes around, the time where we give certain things up for 40 days, in attempt to find repentance and prepare for Easter. Yes, the time for agnostics, atheist, and believers to all ponder on the story of Christ, and reflect on what will come after this life.

    It is also during this time that religious movies arrive in theaters, rehashing the stories that most learned from Sunday schooling. To the secular, it is hard to put forth $15 dollars to see a film that depicts a story in which we already know what is going to happen. Risen is 2016’s attempt to be a conversation starter, while also respecting the source material to depict the story of Jesus.

    The biblical story of the Resurrection is told this time through the eyes of a non believer. With reports of people saying that the “Messiah” would rise again in three days, His body was ordered to be placed in a tomb, in order to prevent his followers from stealing the body and claim that he had risen from the dead. Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a Roman Tribune, is assigned to figure out what happened to the body of Jesus, and the centurion leads an investigation, questioning his disciples and Mary Magdalene herself.

    Yes, certain quotes are pulled directly from the bible, but this is, in fact, a fictional account through the eyes of a Roman. It was intriguing seeing the story of the resurrection intertwine with a fictional story, or rather, an actual perspective that secular people would have. How do you think people would respond today in the 21st century if someone said that someone died and returned from the dead?

    But the premise comes and goes, and we dive into the film, which had an aura of a television special on TBN rather than a film. The film ultimately splits in two, with the first half focusing on the search for Jesus’ (or rather, “The Nazarene”) body, and then the journey he takes with the 12 disciples as they begin their journey to spread the good news.

    Joseph Fiennes plays a stoic a bit too well, and unfortunately, we do not see the turmoil that his mind is going through in his expressions. How could someone’s expressions remain cold after seeing miracles before him? Where is Clavius’ breakdown? His moment of epiphany and solace? Neither are conveyed through Fiennes, and it is a shame, as we know he has potential (hello, remember Shakespeare in Love?)

    Risen provides a new perspective of the story of the Ascension of Jesus, but does little to create the buzz that it so deserves. But then again, does it hurt to watch Risen during Lent? It’s either that or we give up coffee until Easter, and that’s not happening anytime soon.

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