MOVIES | Ben McEachen
Friday 12 February 2016
An unofficial sequel to The Passion of the Christ arrives at cinemas this month. While Mel Gibson’s phenomenally successful Passion fixated upon what led to Jesus’ death, Risen presents what happened next. Not from the expected point of view, though. Told as a crime thriller, Risen follows a Roman commander charged with proving Jesus’ resurrection is a hoax.
Starring Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) and Harry Potter‘s Tom Felton, Risen has a provocative perspective that its creators hope will spark investigation. That’s right: this major, mainstream release is not out to ignite mockery of Jesus’s claims. But it also isn’t a Christian-backed movie that wants to just preach to the choir.
Instead, like the apostle Paul did only decades after Jesus’ crucifixion (Acts 17:22-31), Risen invites everyone to seriously consider what the evidence for Jesus proves. Delivering it through the eyes of skeptical sleuth Clavius (Fiennes) has the added potential of stopping Risen from being another heavy-handed “Jesus movie”. Audience members who share Clavius’ doubts might actually want to watch him try to destroy the Jesus movement.
Risen producer Rich Peluso was initially drawn to its “well-crafted” script. “But more importantly was that it unabashedly told the story between the crucifixion into the full-on resurrection… [and] all the way to the ascension,” Peluso told the Christian Broadcasting Network. “No one really ever tackles that.”
True. The crucial fact of Jesus being raised from the dead is an amazing story, barely told on screen. And for bringing it to audiences worldwide, Risen boldly calls for more than our indifference.
Risen is in Australian cinemas from February 18, 2016.