Roman military tribune Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) remains set in his ways after serving 25 years in the army. He arrives at a crossroad when he’s tasked to investigate the mystery of what happened to Jesus (Cliff Curtis) following the Crucifixion. Accompanied by trusted aide Lucius (Tom Felton), his quest to disprove rumors of a risen Messiah makes him question his own beliefs and spirituality. As his journey takes him to places never dreamed of, Clavius discovers the truth that he’s been seeking.
The first forty days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is told through the eyes of an agnostic Roman Centurion charged by Pontius Pilate to investigate rumors of a risen Jewish Messiah and locate the missing deceased body of Jesus of Nazareth in order to subdue an imminent uprising in Jerusalem.
During Centurion’s mission, his doubts of such a supernatural occurrence peel away as he encounters the Apostles and other historic biblical characters and bears witness to the legendary storied events that followed the Resurrection. A great mystery unfolds during Centurion’s quest to find the body and he is deeply affected by his first-person investigation, as his previous beliefs on the matter are forever altered based on what he’s now witnessed.
For a film that could have easily become bogged down in Sunday School reverence, or culture-war opportunism, Risen presents an intriguing, oblique approach to a Bible movie. Whatever your religious affiliation, you will come away thinking that if all this did actually happen, it probably happened something like this.
Risen is beautifully filmed, and the gorgeous soundtrack is an important complement to this moving story of a non-believer’s experience with Yeshua. What makes the story work, for the first hour or so at least, is the way the film sticks to Clavius’s jaded, skeptical perspective.
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Year of Release: 2016
Character to watch: Joseph Fiennes as Clavius.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?