Risen ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp
Risen is a fictional story surrounding the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Joseph Fiennes, who doesn’t look much older now than he did in 1998 when he played Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love, plays a Roman tribune named Clavius. Clavius doesn’t seem to believe in much of anything except his own ambition. He’s present at the Crucifixion, and when he sees the suffering that occurs and the devotion of Jesus’s followers, something is stirred deep inside him. He looks long at the face of the man on the cross.
After Jesus’s body is entombed, the trouble seems to have ended for the Roman government, except that three days later the huge stone that was covering the entrance to the sepulcher is rolled away and the body is gone, leaving only the shroud that covered it. The guards who were supposed to be guarding the tomb were found to have been in a drunken stupor. The story that’s advanced is that Jesus’s followers stole the body and have it hidden somewhere to advance their own agenda. Pontius Pilate, in a tizzy over a visit by the Emperor that is supposed to take place in a few days, charges Clavius with finding the body of the man some call a king and thus ending the stories about him that are embarrassing to himself and the government.
Clavius doesn’t believe that anything supernatural has taken place. He admits that the one thing in the world that scares him the most is being wrong. He begins looking everywhere for the body of a 33-year-old man who has been crucified. His investigation leads eventually to the followers of Christ, those who call themselves the Disciples. He finds that these men are sincere and, although they can’t explain what they believe and what they have seen, they believe it wholeheartedly. When Clavius and some of his men burst in on a meeting of the Disciples, he finds sitting among them the living image of the man he saw die on the cross. He is mystified but has no explanation.
To satisfy his own curiosity, Clavius begins traveling with the Disciples. Christ appears to them miraculously at times and Clavius witnesses firsthand some of his miracles, including the curing of an outcast leper. When Christ appears to the Disciples for the last time, he tells them to spread his message to every country in the world. After these events take place, Clavius, if not quite a believer, at least admits that he has been changed forever by what he has witnessed.
Risen is not for everybody, of course. Either you’re a believer, or you’re not. If you aren’t a believer, a movie isn’t going to change your mind. If you are a believer, no further explanation is needed.
Copyright © 2016 by Allen Kopp