The story of Jesus’s crucifixion and his resurrection have been told many times over the year’s, but almost always through the same eyes. Those of his believers, which may not tell the whole story. What if you saw the story in a different way? Through the eyes of a skeptic, and heard the story told through their point of view. That is the angle “Risen” is going for, the story you all know, but this time told though the eyes of a non-believer.
Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) is a Tribune who has been put in charge of cleaning up after three men are crucified, one of them being Yeshua (Cliff Curtis) a man who seems to have a lot of followers. After everything is over Pilate (Peter Firth) orders Clavius to entomb the body and to make sure nothing happens. Of course you know the story, and soon Clavius is looking for clues to where the missing body of Yeshua is. He is joined by Lucius (Tom Felton) as they search the town of Yeshua’s disciples and clues to where he may have gone. Everything changes for Clavius as he finds who he is looking for, but instead of finding a body, he finds him alive and well. After witnessing what he has, Clavius joins the disciples on their mission, as well as looking for the answers to the most important of questions.
Every film has its targeted audience, some are just bigger than others. The “faith” based films have done well over the last few years, and because of their smaller budget and ability to reach its audience, there will always be a place for them. The fault with these films often lies on its heavy handed approach, which for some it works fine. Writer Paul Aiello and Kevin Reynolds, the later also directing, decided to make it from the point of view that is not the most common. The idea sounds good, and while it has good intentions, the film isn’t as great as the idea. The film struggles to find any pace, as the performances feel uninspired. Both Fiennes and Felton’s talents go wasted as a lack of emotion and often words are their undoing. While the premise of seeing things through a non-believer is true for the first half, the second half strays away from that. This film never feels epic, as it seems more at home on the small screen than in your local theater. “Risen” was indeed a different approach, but if your going to go against such a conventional well-known story, you really need to commit to it. Yet, this film fails to rise to that next level.