Movie Review: Risen


Producer: Patrick Aiello, Mickey Liddell, and Pete Shilaimon
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Writer: Kevin Reynolds, Paul Aiello, and others
Cast: Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton,Peter Firth, and Cliff Curtis
Plot: A tribune under Pontius Pilate has been charged with finding the body of Jesus and arresting his disciples. As he investigates the missing body he comes to the realization that there is more here than just a missing body.

As I have said before I have trouble with Christian films.  Many times it is poor production values or an extremely cheesy plot that is more suited for a bad after school special.

Risen has none of that with Joseph Fiennes playing a world-weary tribune whose tired of battling rebels, tired of the bureaucracy of the empire, and tired of being Pilate’s go to man.  And Peter Firth plays Pilate with just the right disdain, he despises the Jews but he knows that one word from them will bring him back to Rome in disgrace.    They elevate the movie above the standard pablum that plagues so many Christian movies.

And the story is interesting although it reminds me a lot of another film about a tribune searching for the truth about Jesus and that is the movie The Robe based upon the Lloyd C. Douglas book of the same name.  But unlike The Robe this movie has more of a detective novel feel to it as some of the traditional arguments against the resurrection are examined and shown to be without substance.

However it isn’t without faults.  Some of the things that I am critical of in this film is once again making Mary Magdalene a former prostitute even there is no evidence for this. And having the shroud in the tomb have the imprint of Christ’s face giving credence to the Shroud of Turin something I consider as one of the great forgeries of the time as does Calvin.   And lastly having the tribune join the disciples in the upper room and at the ascension is a bit of a stretch.

Now, having said my criticism of the film I have read a few other comments that should be aired.  They do portray Christ both as crucified and as resurrected, although at least they didn’t make him a blue-eyed blond like Jeffrey Hunter.  Cliff Curtis has more of a middle eastern look about him as he portrays Jesus even though he is from New Zealand.  But if you take the second commandment serious, and I know many of you do, then portraying Jesus is a violation of that commandment.

Next the other big criticism of this was there was no gospel in the film.  Rather the disciples seemed to be rather giddy and when questioned by the romans they answer the questions with a goofy grin on their face.  But there is no mention of salvation from sin or what Jesus’ death on the cross means regarding the fulfillment of prophecy.

You have to take all these things into consideration if you decide to watch this film.  I give the film three and a half stars out of five.

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