SUMMARY: Joseph Fiennes stars as the tribune Clavius, a veteran Roman officer tasked with avoiding a political crisis for Pontius Pilate. The battle-hardened soldier oversees Jesus’ removal from the cross and his burial in a rock-cut tomb. However, when rumours begin to emerge that the Nazarene has been seen walking about, the governor dispatches Clavius to produce Jesus’ body and put an end to the turmoil that threatens to undermine his authority.
RATED: M for violence and some disturbing images.
AUDIENCE: Older teens and up. In particular anyone who thinks Jesus resurrection can be reasoned away.
WHAT’S GOOD: Risen provides excellent answers to alternate explanations for Jesus’ miraculous return including ‘Jesus only swooned’, ‘the disciples stole Jesus’ body’, ‘everyone went to the wrong grave’, and ‘early Christians fabricated the story’. There’s also a bunch of good acting from the likes of Joseph Fiennes and Peter Firth.
WHAT’S NOT: Risen is so busy underlining the historical reliability of the resurrection accounts that it forgets to tell us why Jesus rose. The messiah is remarkably silent when he comes back from the grave and seems more keen to encourage faith in general rather than faith in Himself.
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SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: This film is a brilliant one to show sceptical friends because the resurrection remains the central fact of Christianity and the basis for our salvation. However make sure you have a copy of the Bible handy to explain why it’s so important.