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Hollywood has done it!
They have finally created a cinematic epic that stays true to the Bible AND respects the intelligence of its audience. The crew helmed by Director Kevin Reynolds (The Count of Monte Cristo & Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) and cast starring Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) and Tom Felton (Harry Potter series) are ace.

FYI: Minor spoilers pepper this review.

The number of films that have captured the story of The Passion Week and Easter story is countless with favorites including George StevensThe Greatest Story Ever Told and the 1977 all-star miniseries, Jesus of Nazareth.

More recently, Jim Caviezel and Juan Pablo Di Pace have tackled the role of the Messiah to critical acclaim.

Premise of Risen

But this is not your standard biblical drama with Yeshua (Cliff Curtis, Fear the Walking Dead) in a supporting role as fictional Roman Tribune, Clavius (Fiennes), and his assistant, Lucius (Felton), take center stage as they seek answers to the greatest mystery of all time — what happened to Yeshua’s body?

Three days after the crucifixion, the tomb is empty and Peter Firth‘s Pontius Pilate orders the duo to ferret out the body and put an end to the rumors and unrest.

Joseph Fiennes as Clavius. Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

Unexpected Twist

What no one expected, least of all Clavius, was for the mystery to take an unexpected twist half way through when he came face to face with Yeshua.

“I have seen two things which cannot reconcile: A man dead without
question, and that same man alive again. I pursue Him, the Nazarene, to
ferret the truth.” – Clavius

A Fresh Perspective

So in this new telling of the forty days between Yeshua’s resurrection and ascension, we follow a non-believer (Clavius) who doubles as inquisitor and crime scene investigator as he seeks out the truth. As Joseph Fiennes said:

“Clavius represents the everyman. We’re all on a hunt, theological or
not. We’re all on some form of investigation or discovery.”

Thanks to a quick and clever script by Reynolds and Paul Aiello, gorgeous cinematography by Lorenzo Senatore and a dramatic soundtrack by Roque Baños,  the drama moves at a fast pace all the while allowing characters to develop and for we the viewers to enjoy the experience right alongside Clavius.

Some will automatically compare this latest fare with old Hollywood’s takes on the tale as told by a Roman perspective, such as The Robe (1953) and Ben Hur (1959). And in many ways they would be right.

There were no uncomfortable moments of squirming in our seats while we felt preached at and the focus was on Yeshua’s joy and love for all men.

Highly Recommended

This is a must-see film and comes highly recommended. It is family fare without too many scary scenes for youngsters, overt preaching, or an embarrassing script. This is a film I would feel comfortable seeing with friends of any faith or walk of life and I hope you will too.

We need more love and joy in this world and this film will bring a smile to your face with winning performances by supporting cast such as a delightful Stephen Hogan (Bartholomew) and a beautiful Margaret Jackman (Miriam) and Stewart Scudamore (Peter) who speak of Yeshua’s love and compassion and disinterest in political revolt.

It’s a great reminder and hopefully will bring joy, love and faith into everyone’s lives that see it this Lenten season.

The film is now available for rental and purchase on Amazon

Title: Risen

Rating: PG-13 (for Biblical violence including some disturbing scenes)

Distributed by Columbia Pictures & LD Entertainment

God bless us all!
The Joyous Living RISEN must see cinematic adventure Joseph Fiennes