Risen: The NEXT Great Christian Epic?

As I write these words, not even two hours have passed since I stepped out of the darkened theater into the brilliant Florida sunshine.

Walking to my car in complete silence as if I’d just witnessed something truly remarkable, all I could think was I can’t wait for the Blu Ray DVD! AND – I can’t wait to share with you the brilliance of this film.

Risen hits the mark for filmgoers like me that want to see good Christian programming that isn’t dumbed down or Hollywooded up – to the hilt!

I must admit I had my doubts …

I remember sitting through Noah thinking that I should make a statement by walking out – but I wanted to finish the film so I could warn others of its “off the rails” ridiculousness.

NOTHING like that here.

If you’re looking for historically accurate story-telling that follows the Christian narrative from the Holy Bible. You will NOT be disappointed.

I was absolutely delighted.

Risen stars Joseph Fiennes – which is in itself a good sign. Fiennes masterfully played Martin Luther in the 2003 film, Luther – delivering a stunning performance. I highly recommend that film if you haven’t seen it.

Risen takes you from the crucifixion all the way to the Ascension. I’ll try not to give too much away, but seriously, if you’re reading this, you “probably” know the story. Thankfully, you won’t be left scratching your head, wondering where the movie went wrong – because, in all honesty, it never does (go wrong).

There’s even a Turin Shroud in this movie (you know, the supposed burial cloth of Jesus with his image supernaturally imposed on the material) – what more could you ask for?

Fiennes plays Clavius, a roman Tribune (a leader in the roman army). He is tasked with first overseeing the guarding of the tomb and secondly, investigating the missing body once it’s discovered that the tomb is empty.

Clavius’ journey brings him in contact with the Apostles – and the risen Jesus, played by New Zealander Cliff Curtis. There is an absolutely surreal moment when Clavius first sees Jesus in the upper room that I won’t even begin to describe – you’ll have to see it for yourself.

Throughout the film Clavius is trying to reconcile his beliefs about what he saw when Jesus gave up his life on the cross and the apparent fact of his resurrection. It’s a film about his coming to terms after being confronted with exactly who is Jesus. Something we all face as Christians.

I won’t spoil the ending for you.

I will say that I believe this film is destined to be the next truly great Christian epic – it’s really that good. Early hype compared it to Mel Gibson’s the Passion of the Christ – okay, I’ll buy that, only this one is in English (thankfully)!

It’s fitting that Holy Week is upon us, if you’re looking for good family film for Easter, you won’t go wrong with Risen, though it is a little violent – be warned if you have small children – but definitely worth a viewing with my highest recommendation.

Keep the faith,

John Keever

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