MOVIE REVIEW: Risen

Draco Malfoy and Voldemort’s younger brother team up to find the Risen Jesus Christ after the tomb is emptied three days after the crucifixion.

Right before I get into the meat of this review know that I’m a Dublin born and raised 40-year-old man.  I was raised by a Mother who was nearly next in line to be Pope.  I guess what I’m trying to get through to you guys is that I have the greatest respect for anyone who has a religion and in no way wish to offend anyone with faith.  For myself, I believe in a God, but not in a religion.  When I’m going to trash this film it’s about the entertainment and production, the performances and the script, not one piece of criticism will be about the Christian faith.

So the story here is told from the point of view of a Roman soldier called Clavius.  The right hand of Pilot, who is charged with overseeing the execution and the investigation into the missing corpse of Jesus.  During his investigation he has to walk the line between his duty to Rome and the appeasement of the local elders.  When he starts to have visions of Jesus and comes closer to the mystery of the resurrection it calls into question the vocation to the Empire that was Rome.  Soon he casts off his duty and follows the remaining Apostles.

Joe Fiennes stars as Clavius and during the whole film you think that he either needs a hug or a good laxative, he has one face that scowls through the whole running time.  He’s meant to be an ambitious soldier next in line to be the Prefect of Judea.  When Russell Crowe played a Roman soldier you believed that he was a Roman soldier; Fiennes looks like his Dad bought him the outfit and he’s still unhappy to be there.  Joining Fiennes is Draco Malfoy or as you may know him Tom Felton, it’s still hard to see him as anything other than Draco, and here the best way to describe him is Malfoy with a little less self-confidence.

If you know the story of the crucifixion and the resurrection then you know how most of this goes.  The new angle of seeing everything from this one soldiers point of view makes it feel a little like CSI: Judea.  There are times that the best Monty Python film, The Life of Brian comes to mind, with the amount of door kicking by the Roman Garrison into the homes of the people.  It’s a little dull too, and I hate saying that, but there is a total lack of charm.  The film is for those who want to see another retelling of the resurrection.  This time with better special effects and stars that you know, but can’t quite remember their names.  One of the stars of Fear the Walking Dead appears as Jesus, which in my mind, and I apologize for this thought, meant that he’s just getting typecast now.

This attempt at bringing the story into the 21st is not the way to go.  Sure it looks fantastic and they go for reality over the more stylized version of the stories we sometimes get now.  This just lacks a lot of heart.  This story should move mountains, fill your heart with joy and peace, even the most cynical of us should have felt something.  Sadly I can only say that I felt that I longed for the film to be over quicker.  On a personal note, I should probably read the notes more before going to see a film, I honestly thought that this was based on the Xbox One game of the same name.  When one of my fellow critics told me that this was about the resurrection I honestly felt like the dumbest man in the world.

Director: Kevin Reynolds
Writers: Kevin Reynolds, Paul Aiello
Stars: Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth, Cliff Curtis, Maria Botto, etc..

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