“Risen”: Hollywood finally makes a great biblical film
Christian audiences have felt a bit burnt lately by bad films on biblical subjects. But a great movie can change that.
“Ben Hur”, “The robe”, “The ten commandments”, “Quo Vadis? – who can forget the golden age of Bible films? But that was in the 1950s, and we are in 2016.
Bible-based films these days often seem less than inspired. Writers and directors sometimes play quickly and freely with the source material, leaving out crucial details and making up bizarre stuff. Worse yet, representations of God often seem flippant or even blasphemous. And it’s just not something I like to watch.
Well I want to urge you to give the genre another chance. Because a movie in theaters this weekend proves that Bible-based sword and sandal productions can still stand up to “Ben Hur.”
“Risen”, directed by Kevin Reynolds and starring Joseph Fiennes, is the story of the manhunt for the corpse of Jesus Christ. Spoiler alert: they can’t find it.
Fiennes plays a Roman tribune named Clavius. He is commissioned by Pontius Pilate to crucify the last batch of Jewish scum and self-proclaimed messiahs. The only problem? One of them really is the Messiah.
Of course, Clavius, a good Roman soldier, thinks nothing of Jesus. When the centurion of Golgotha admits, “This man was certainly the Son of God,” Clavius allows him to do so. Clavius is tough and he is immune to Jewish superstition, that is, until Sunday morning. For Clavius, that’s when all of Heaven is unleashed.
The tomb is empty, the guards do not speak, and the Disciples of Jesus spread the news that he has come back to life. The high priest warns Pilate that they will have an uprising in their hands if he does not end the story of the resurrection. So Pilate sends Clavius on a gruesome ITUC hunt for the body of Christ.
It was then that our tribune had a meeting that shook his pagan view of the world.
“I saw two things that cannot be reconciled,” he says. “A dead man without a doubt, and that same man alive again.”
Every member of our BreakPoint team who has seen the film adores it, not only because it is a respectful and captivating portrayal of the Gospel stories, but because it shows the crisis of faith of an unbeliever confronted with the Risen Lord. .
Looking ahead to Easter, I can’t think of a better reminder of how Christianity, as Tim Keller puts it, forces us to “doubt our doubts.”
The empty tomb is the most surprising fact in history – something two millennia of skeptics have tried to explain. But the evidence is just too strong. And “Risen”, like a good detective story, follows that evidence where it leads.
For example, Roman officials and Jewish rulers had every reason to produce a body. Yet they couldn’t. And the Disciples of Jesus had nothing to gain and everything to lose by lying about the Resurrection. But their transformation from cowards into spiritual conquerors testifies that they, like the fictional character in Fiennes, saw something – or Someone – that rocked their worlds.
Joe Fiennes, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing on the “Eric Metaxas Show,” told BreakPoint that he expects this film to touch audiences in a unique way precisely because it invites them. to examine these events through the eyes of an unbeliever.
I think “Risen” has the potential to spark a revival of solidly biblical films. But more importantly, I think it will challenge the audience to confront, along with Clavius, the question that challenges skeptics to this day: if Jesus is dead, then where is the body?
Go see “Risen”. And take some unbelieving friends with you.
Originally posted on breakpoint.org.