Sunday, March 6, 2016

Risen is timed perfectly for Easter

Movie Title:  Risen

Grade:  B+

Rating:  PG-13, 1 hour 47 minutes

In a Nutshell:   Remember the great biblical movies from the 1950’s, such as The Ten Commandments , Robe, The , and Ben Hur ?  This new “sword and sandal” film isn’t quite as epic as those, but it’s pretty good. 

I usually cringe a little bit when watching Christian films, because they can be so cheesy.  I AM Christian, so I want them to be amazing.  This one is simple, yet very well done and timed perfectly for the Easter season.

What makes Risen good is that its story is told through the eyes of the soldier in charge of the investigation, an unbeliever. 

Risen is a story about the empty tomb.  All of us, ultimately, have to make a decision about that empty tomb.  Did Jesus truly rise after three days of death?  Is he the Messiah? Will we live again?  In the words of Mary Magdalene, “Open your heart and see.”

 Uplifting theme: 
  • The last thing Jesus says in the movie is “And know that I will be with you always.”
  • “It’s not just about life eternal, but how to live.” – John (Mish Boyko)
  • “Will you fish too?” – Simon Peter (Stewart Scudamore)

Things I liked:
  • Joseph Fiennes gives us a thoughtful performance.
  • I loved that the actors didn’t look like squeaky clean Hollywood actors, but rather, they had sun burns, leathery skin and bloody cuts that were still healing.
  • There are many lessons to be learned.  For example, the soldier sits with Jesus in an intimate conversation and admits, “I don’t even know what to ask.”  Jesus encourages, “Speak with your heart.”  While we may not get to physically sit next to the Savior, we can pray and speak with Him from our hearts.
  • Jesus is called Yeshua in the film, adding to an authentic feel of time and culture.
  • Pretty Sea of Galilee scenes.
  • It shows the shroud that covered Jesus’ body.  I would have liked to see more story developed with that piece of evidence.
  • Cliff Curtis gives us a new version of Jesus, and Peter Firth plays a Pontius Pilate who is led by ambition and politics.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Accents weren’t consistent.  Everyone had some kind of a British or quasi-American accent, except for Mary (Maria Botto) who sounded like she was trying to speak English with a Middle-Eastern accent.
·       There were several inaccuracies in the film, according to scripture, but no great doctrinal issues were changed.
·       It’s going to take some getting used to when we see Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) in films other than Harry Potter.
·       There is some “artistic license” taken, but most of the scenarios are plausible.

Interesting lines:

  • “What frightens you?” –  Jesus
“Being wrong.  And betting eternity on it.” – Clavius
  • “When the Messiah comes, Rome will be nothing.” – some guy
“Until then.” – Clavius
  • “All that for peace?  Is there no other way?”  - Pontius Pilate
  • “Do you truly believe all this?  -  some guy
“I believe.  I can never be the same.” – Clavius

Tips for parents:   
  •  You’ll see dead bodies being crucified, burned, and buried.
  • There is a violent battle scene towards the beginning.
  • No profanity.

I invite you to share one of my favorite Easter videos.  For a really beautiful video about the resurrection of Jesus, perfect to share with your family at Easter, check out:

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