05/03/16 19:19 Filed in: 2016
Directed by: Kevin Reynolds
Starring: Joseph Fiennes
The below comments (in Black) were originally tweeted in Real-time from the back row of a movie theater and appear @BackRoweReviews. Though efforts were made to tease rather than ruin this movie’s memorable lines and moments, some spoilers may exist in the following evaluation (in Red). For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. All ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!
Rolling stones used in combat. Symbolic of the big one later in the story. #RollingStones
“Until then...” #RomanBrutality
“Order...order.” I got it the first time. #BreathMint
Unusual for a #Bible movie to begin with the crucifixion.
“Never killed a king before.” Not just a king. #KingOfKings
“It’s as if he wanted to be sacrificed.” Like a lamb to the slaughter. #NoGreaterLove
“A day without death.” Great dialog during the pool scene.
“We must find a body.” Let the investigation begin. #CSIJerusalem
“Wait ‘till you see combat.” Ha!
“Some say he has risen.”
The scene where #Clavius asks which of his men knows #MaryMagdalene is hilarious.
“This is what you missed.” #RomanNail #Crucifixion
“They’re everywhere!” #Bartholomew is a great character who provides some much needed #ComicRelief. #12Disciples
The sword slips through #Clavius’ fingers. Seeing #Yeshua is a disarming experience.
“No one dies today.” The pursuit by the #Roman soldiers is an exciting sequence.
#CliffCurtis is very good in his portrayal of #Jesus.
The healing of the leper gave me #Goosebumps.
The #Ascension is spectacular!
“I doubt we’ll ever hear from them again.” Wrong!
Final analysis: the #Resurrection story told from a unique POV. Benefits from solid acting and gorgeous locations.
Rating: 3 out of 4. An original yet reverent #Bible epic with one of the finest #Redemption stories ever told.
Some years ago, back when I had aspirations of plying my acting skills (such as they are) into a career, I had the lead part in an Easter cantata entitled Bow the Knee. The story focuses on a Roman centurion who has a crisis of conscience regarding the teacher named Jesus. The play presented a unique story told from the POV of an original character and echoed similar conceits in films like Ben Hur (1959) and Barabbas (1961). Like in Bow the Knee, Risen narrates the Passion of Christ through the eyes of a Roman soldier, but the twist here is that most of the story takes place after the crucifixion (which occurs early in the film). The action kicks into high gear when Jesus’ tomb is found empty and Roman Tribune Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) is put in charge of the investigation to find the body. This procedural element keeps the story rolling along until Clavius has a life changing encounter with the subject of his pursuit midway through the movie. Clavius falls in with the disciples and, by proxy, takes us on a spiritual journey which is punctuated by several key events from Jesus’ post-resurrection ministry. The 80/20 rule applies to this movie, with roughly 20% of the tale actually based on scripture and 80% extrapolated from the inspired text and presented for dramatic effect. The end result here is seeker sensitive and palatable for those with an open mind, but will probably frustrate those fundamentalist theologians who maintain that a Biblical epic must be chapter and verse (and has there ever been such a film since none of us where there 2,000 years ago to determine the story’s authenticity?). One of the most exciting elements in the story is how it weaves in and out of the official New Testament narrative, which provides freshness for those familiar with the actual events from the Bible. Some of those vignettes, extracted directly from the holy book, are extremely well executed, such as: the crucifixion, the fish bounty, the healing of the leper and the ascension. Other sequences, like when Roman soldiers pursue the disciples through tussocks of grass and winding canyons, are nowhere to be found in the Bible, but are visually exciting and help maintain audience interest throughout the story. Aside from its pioneering plot, the acting is also a boon to the film. Fiennes is superb in the lead role and plays his character’s gradual shift in loyalties to perfection. Peter Firth is exceptional as Pontius Pilate, portraying the Roman official as a flesh and blood character rather than an egomaniacal caricature. Tom Felton is effective as ambitious Roman soldier Lucius and Cliff Curtis (Fear the Walking Dead) delivers an understated, yet deeply affecting, performance as Jesus. In addition to the movie’s fine production elements, the locations have greatly contributed to the visual veracity of the film. Shot in Spain and Malta, these exteriors have helped the story come to life by accurately depicting the Holy Land during the First Century. In the end, this is a compelling story of personal redemption that just happens to be based on the Bible, and as such, should have appeal far beyond the religious set.