Filed under Movies
Starring Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth
Run time: 107 minutes
In theaters: Feb. 19
Dozens of faith films have come and gone since Mel Gibson’s box office phenomenon, The Passion of the Christ, a dozen years ago. A few of them were quite good, but most didn’t measure up.
The good news is that Christian films are getting better and consumers are responding. Last year’s War Room ($67 million) and Woodlawn ($14 million) were box office and critical successes. A batch of new films are on the horizon: The Young Messiah (March 11), Miracles from Heaven (March 18), and God’s Not Dead 2 (April 1).
Leading off is an impressive Biblical account of the Resurrection, told through the eyes of a nonbeliever. Clavius, brilliantly played by veteran British actor Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love), is a powerful Roman military tribune who reports directly to Pontius Pilate.
Pilate orders Clavius and his aide Lucius (Tom Felton of the Harry Potter series) to find Jesus’ body three days after the crucifixion in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem. As Clavius tracks down leads, he’s confronted with more questions — uncomfortable questions. His focus is to shut down the alleged rumors, but his love for truth feeds his passion to get to the bottom of what happened to Christ’s body.
Risen is a triumph on every level. The story is compelling — something that’s been sorely lacking in bigger-budget faith films — told from Clavius’ perspective. The action sequences are often brutal and ring closer to reality than all of the box office stinkers that have tried and fallen short. Filmed in Malta and Spain, Risen’s production values are phenomenal. Director Kevin Reynolds (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Count of Monte Cristo) draws remarkable performances from a talented pool of actors. Christian faithful have waited more than a decade for a movie about Christ that rings true. The wait is over. This is the best film about the life of Jesus since The Passion. Hands down.
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.