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Risen meets challenge of biblical story
Justin Hall

“Risen” is an answer to my cinematic prayers.

Of all of the recent faith-based and/or religious-themed films, this is one of the few that gets it right. Why? Its filmmakers actually bother to tell a story and give us good performances instead of clumsily beating us over the head with a Bible.

The movie, which is a fictionalized account of the events after the resurrection of Jesus, is told from the perspective of a Roman centurion named Clavius (Joseph Fiennes). He’s been ordered by Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth) to investigate the disappearance of Christ, whose body is believed to have been stolen by his disciples.

The movie follows the outlines of the Gospels, staying true to the material while introducing enough intriguing elements to keep the drama and intrigue fresh. It tries for a more epic feel like “Ben-Hur” or “The Passion of the Christ” rather than the campy, flamboyant tone of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

When Clavius finally does encounter the risen Jesus (Cliff Curtis), Christ is with his disciples, who see he is actually resurrected by touching his wrists and feeling his once-speared side. Clavius then follows the group through until Jesus’ Ascension.

As for concerns of accuracy or authenticity, director/co-writer Kevin Reynolds creates a biblical world complete with old-fashioned yet convincing detail. Even with a small budget, the movie’s production department is able to come up with good special effects.

Some people may have been turned off by examining a biblical story from another point of view, but I promise this is no “The Last Temptation of Christ” or even “Noah.” “Risen” is finally the faith-based film I have wanted to see for quite some time

Grade: B+

(Rated PG-13 for biblical violence including some disturbing images.)

Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.

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