Risen follows 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. (–Sony Pictures)
MOVIE REVIEW: Risen MPAA RATING: PG-13 for Biblical violence including some disturbing images. OPENS: February 19, 2016 DYM’S REVIEW: 3.5/4 stars
I really, really enjoyed this movie! I was surprised and delighted from the opening scenes of the movie – this was going to tell the story of Christ in a fresh and powerful way. And while most Christian films end with the big climactic crucifixion, it was great to start the film with the death of Jesus shown as only part of and not the end of His story.
The story unfolds from the perspective of a Roman soldier, the story of the empty tomb takes on a new level of mystery, and truth, as Clavius the Tribune (played by Joseph Fiennes) and his aide, Lucius, (played by Tom Felton) seek to find Jesus’ missing body and those who stole it.
Before I saw the film, I wondered if pieces of the biblical story would be edited to cut out scenes that may feel overly ‘mystical’ or inexplicable to viewers who do not believe in the biblical accounts of Jesus, and yet, each time, there they were, believable, supernatural and accurate …right up to His ascension in to heaven. The movie is pretty true to scriptural accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection, interwoven with the biblical narrative is this fantastic story of how if may have been.
As Clavius and Lucius seek to uncover what happened, they interrogate a series of Jesus’ followers and other “witnesses” about Jesus. The way the followers speak of Jesus and his resurrection, from the writing to the delivery, is—there is no other word for it—beautiful. This was one of the most moving scenes in the movie.
This film will stir up questions and begin conversations for both Christians and non-Christians. Non-believers asking how much of this story is true, or how we can believe this—opening up doors to so many great discussions. And, for Christians, I think it’s a great nudge for us, “If this is all true, now how shall we live?”
All-in-all what a fantastic—fresh, creative—way to depict the life and life after death of Jesus! This is a movie that indeed earns the PG-13 rating but is appropriate for the students in your ministry. This is another film that instantly becomes required viewing for teenagers developing their faith.
In short, I loved this film. The DYM Team loved this film. We are excited to see what kind of discussions this creates in families, schools, and churches. Don’t miss it—in theaters February 19th!