RISEN is a prime example of how to make an effective Christian film that combines top-notch filmmaking with ace storytelling that shows growth and transformation in discovering the truth about Jesus Christ, from an initially imposing skeptic’s point of view. This film is a murder mystery, a Biblical drama, a coming-of-faith journey, and a thriller as well. One that culminates in the truth of what the Bible represents and who Jesus, or should I say, Yeshua, is to US all.
RISEN is a film from Affirm Films and Columbia Pictures, made by San Antonio native and director Kevin Reynolds. He is the director of 2002’s THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, 2006’s TRISTAN AND ISOLDE and 2012’s HATFIELD AND MCCOY’S mini-series, and he imbues this film’s story of Clavius (Joseph Fiennes in a riveting and emotional performance), an imposing yet loyal Roman Tribune who oversees the crucifixion, death, and sealing of the “King of the Jews”‘s tomb, with visual splendor and plenty of heart and soul.
His consort Lucius (Tom Felton, aka Draco Malfoy, performing against type) is his second-in-command, and his boss is none other than Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth, Colin Firth’s Dad). Clavius and Pilate are on initially friendly terms, as Clavius heeds every command of Pilate’s up until the news breaks of the dead King of the Jews’ sealed tomb miraculously opened and the body of the “Jew King”, or Yeshua, gone…
With the Roman clergy stunned yet heeding the prophecy set forth by the King’s disciples (about how Yeshua would rise again on the third day), Pilate in a fury and a time limit set before the Emperor arrives in Judea, he sends Clavius out to not just search and find the body of the “Jew King”, but to find the truth of how and why the tomb and body came to be as they are in the first place. So out Clavius goes, and what he finds and learns will change his life and also the course of history in the process…
The cast is stunning and authentic, especially Cliff Curtis as Yeshua. What a performance. Joseph Fiennes as the main character Clavius deserves praise too, for the growth and transformation his character undergoes throughout the course of the film is tremendous and deeply moving. Director Kevin Reynolds, as stated above, imbues the film with visual splendor and plenty of heart and soul. RISEN is an emotional film, but also a beautiful one too.
RISEN is an eye-opening blend of historical fiction (the character Clavius, primarily) and truthful, Bible-based fact (Jesus’s death and resurrection) where the fiction doesn’t get in the way of the Biblical truth. Instead, RISEN meets and exceeds expectations of Biblical accuracy and tells a bold and moving story about one man’s coming-of-faith journey, from the darkness to God’s light. (That’s all I can say about what happens, because I’m not one to spoil movies, especially for my readers and loved ones). Where the story of Clavius is historical fiction, the story of Jesus Christ is Bible-based truth and fact. Blended together makes RISEN an inspiring Christian film for current and future believers in Christ and spiritually rewarding for those who know the story front and back.
I know I’m still learning in my walk with Jesus, and this film RISEN is a big boost on my journey forward as well.