‘Risen’ Review

Directed by Kevin Reynolds

Written by Kevin Reynolds and Paul Aiello

Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth, Cliff Curtis, and Maria Botto

★★★☆☆

“Risen” is being mislabeled as a biblical epic, no film clocking in at 107 minutes should be considered an epic. A description that is more accurate for “Risen” would be the “All the President’s Men” of the New Testament. With Joseph Fiennes playing a biblical Woodward and Bernstein seeking the truth behind the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The part of the movie that was the biblical “All the President’s Men” was the strength of the film. The detective story angle to the resurrection of Jesus was an interesting, and a unique take on the story. Fiennes’ character searching for a rational explanation for the disappearance of the body of Jesus was fascinating.

In the third act, on the journey to Galilei, “Risen” loses steam. And loses it fast. In the third act, the movie goes from biblical detective story to the narrative of a non-believer to a believer. The standard faith-based movie plot line. The first two acts were a Jesus movie in the same way that “Ben-Hur” was a Jesus movie. A film that had Jesus as part of the story, but the whole story was not about Jesus.

Honestly, “Risen” could have cut everything after Fiennes had seen Jesus had indeed risen, and cut the final scene of the movie. Had “Risen” been structured in this way, the transition from non-believer to believer would have been implied, and this would have been the preferable conclusion to the movie. No member of the audience needed it made obvious to them that Fiennes converted after witnessing the dead Jesus alive again.

“Risen” contained some well-crafted, though unspectacular, acting, directing, and writing. Each of these aspects was passable, but nothing worth special praise. Overall, “Risen” is a solid three-star movie, and worth watching, well, worth watching until the third act.

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