Directed by Kevin Reynolds and featuring Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, and Peter Firth.
2016, 107 minutes
I had already read and reviewed “Risen,” the book (see here), before seeing the movie yesterday with my wife. Regrettably, one of the book’s main characters, Rachel, ended up on the film’s cutting room floor. All in all, this is an enjoyable movie about the resurrection of Jesus through the eyes of a fictional non-believer. Roman tribune, Clavius, is in search of “a day without death” and “peace.” Does he find what he’s searching for in Christ?
Unfortunately, the film doesn’t make explicitly clear that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins by His death on the cross and rose from the grave, conquering sin and death, to be the Savior of all those who accept Him. Viewers of this film who don’t already know Christ and God’s Word might assume Jesus is just some type of divine, New Age guru who pedals nirvanic bliss to his followers rather than being their Savior from the wages of sin. The book does a much better job of identifying Jesus’ biblical roles as the sacrificial Lamb of God and the Savior of those who accept Him.
But I don’t mean to be too harsh. Transferring the Bible to film and pleasing every viewer is an impossible task and many would say it’s a task that shouldn’t even be attempted. I enjoyed “Risen” and would watch it again. Fiennes gives a fine performance as the battle-hardened tribune in search of life’s true meaning. I choked back tears several times at the depictions of my Savior’s death and His triumphal resurrection and appearances. What a price He paid and what a gift He offers! But, if you want the factual details, and you should, read the New Testament.
Hopefully, “Risen” will be the start of the journey to Christ for many. If the Holy Spirit can use a movie like “The Omen,” as He did with me, He can most assuredly use “Risen.”