In Risen, Director Kevin Reynolds has created the age old timeless story of Jesus and his resurrection after death from the viewpoint of his Roman aggressor.
Risen see’s that hat falling firmly on the head of a very stiff and unconvincing Joseph Fiennes as he spends most of the film with a vacant look on his face and staring off into space instead of at his fellow actor.
This watered-down and clunky story see’s the sceptical Tribune Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) and his newly appointed partner Lucius (Tom Felton) set with an investigation into finding out what happened to Yeshua’s (Cliff Curtis) – the Hebrew name for Jesus – body, the believed messiah, after it mysteriously disappears from his tomb after his death. Playing out what seems like one of the many crime dramas you see on the TV these days it takes on one pace and stays there, never gaining any real momentum along the way, which is by far its biggest disappointment.
As Clavius questions and interrogates eyewitnesses and suspects alike with the trusted Lucius, who seems to follow Clavius around like a lost little dog in complete awe of his master, Clavius starts to question his own faith as he embarks on a spiritual journey of his own. Whilst scouring the dishevelled stone huts in search of Yeshua’s followers as the main suspects, the never referred to a woman of loose morals, Mary Magdalene (Maria Botto) lurks forever in the background. Whilst back at headquarters Pilate (Peter Firth) fears an uprising against the Romans and constantly labels The High Priest and his kind ‘raving jews’. On many occasion, it’s the one-liners delivered by Firth which raise a little titter.
When Clavius finally catches up with Yeshua’s men he questions everything he knows as Yeshua appears amongst them, Saying very little and looking like he has put on a few pounds since we saw him on his cross being crucified, then disappearing in front of his very eyes. Joining the men on their quest across the barren vast landscapes to Galileo, ham-fisted acting prevails.
Affirm Films, The religious arm of Sony Pictures have created here not just a film to appeal to believers but to non-believers too with its watered down and at times comical and playful script. No matter what your religious standpoint may be the Bible certainly has a great story, Reynolds and affirm have produced a film that will appeal to a larger scope of audience without feeling like someone’s beliefs are being rammed down your throat.
Risen is out in UK Cinemas March 18.