Movie Review: ‘Risen’

If you like “Bible movies,” Risen is a good one. And let me tell you the best thing about it.

It’s a single scene, starring an actor in a small part. Richard Atwill plays one of the Roman guards who was on duty at Jesus’ tomb when He rose from the dead, and he tries to tell you what is was like. It would be wrong of me to reveal any of the details. I highly recommend seeing it for yourself.

Risen is the story of a Roman army officer, Clavius–played with stern conviction by Joseph Fiennes–who is ordered by Pilate (Peter Firth) to track down Jesus’ body, arrest the disciples, and prove that the Resurrection was a hoax. And this without drawing a single paycheck from a modern teachers’ union.

There’s a lot of grim and even gruesome detail in this movie; but on the plus side, it’s a loving and realistic rendering of Jesus and His disciples. I would have liked to see more of Pilate’s inner conflict that the Scripture suggests, but you can’t have everything. Fiennes is really good, and so are all the actors playing the apostles. There’s a trace of Catholic bias in it, but that really shouldn’t be a major problem for the viewer.

On the whole, though, the screenplay sticks fairly close to Scripture. No movie can be a substitute for the Bible. But a good one might draw a viewer nearer to it.

5 comments on “Movie Review: ‘Risen’

  1. It sounds interesting.

    Bible movies are always a bit of a risk. I’m fascinated with the story of Noah and watched that as soon as it came out on DVD. It was truly awful, IMO. It was based more on the Book of Enoch than the Bible, but in many ways, it reminded me of a cheesy Star Wars spoof, with regard to the overall production.

    The Book of Enoch has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, but I don’t place it on equal footing with the canonized Scriptures. It may not even be the same book as is mentioned in the Bible, I don’t know how one could tell. While it fills in a lot of details about the Flood, I don’t know that these are more than ancient legend. I can only believe that God kept His inspired word intact for our use and I wouldn’t even begin to know where the Book of Enoch fits into that plan.

    Anyhow, I said all of that just to elaborate upon the subject of bible movies. I’ve seen more than one that was great, but I’ve seen others that I found wanting.

    BTW, there is a documentary called Patterns Of Evidence which discusses the Exodus. Secular history claims it never happened but that there was an exodus of Semitic peoples from Egypt hundreds of years earlier. Interestingly, Egyptian history includes a “dark period”, which has little or no historical evidence, but is inserted into Egypt’s timeline to keep it in alignment with the prevailing view of history. If you remove this “dark period” the mass exodus of Semetics happens in 1447 BC and Egypt’s history better aligns with that of Assyria, etc.

    So, IOW, take out the imaginary “dark period” and everything does fit and there is a “pattern of evidence” which supports the Bible’s account t of matters. It is also notable that after the Exodus, Egypt fell into an economic downturn that essentially gutted its economy. The Israelites had been exploited for a long time and when they left, the wealth of Egypt went with them. Exodus 12:35 “Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; 36 and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.”

    An army of liberal politicians working 24x7x365 for fifty years could not have done a better job of devastating and economy, 🙂 but Israel deserved this for all,they had suffered. Remember, Pharaoh had decreed all male Israelites to be killed at birth (and the first-born of all Egypt ending up dying).

    Anyhow, this DVD is pretty good.

    1. The Egyptians, by the way, are not noted for the honesty of their own historical records. Ramses II had the Battle of Qadesh written up and publicized as a decisive victory on his part. That was pure propaganda: at best for him, the battle was a draw. And the Hittites kept northern Syria.

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