I must confess to a love of Bible stories; DeMille’s Ten Commandments used to be an annual ritual. Risen is no religio-cinematic classic, but the film from Sony’s faith-based arm, Affirm Films, certainly trumps the output of Albany’s Sherwood Pictures.
Risen recounts the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, (Cliff Curtis of “Fear the Walking Dead”) through the eyes of a nonbeliever, tribune Clavius (Joseph Fiennes). Director Kevin Reynolds (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) makes sure the movie more closely resembles an actual Hollywood product than the usual amateurish fare aimed at evangelical audiences. The movie shows restraint in its proselytizing as well, which may prove a fault in the eyes of its target audience.
Fiennes is no stranger to religious cinema—he played Martin Luther in 2003—and the professional gives a potent performance, no matter your personal creed. He remains commanding even after becoming a dewy-eyed convert (but oh, how dewy Joe Fiennes’ eyes can get). Risen proves pretty limited outside of its star. Tom “Draco Malfoy” Felton is its other big name, and his presence is nothing to brag about. Nonetheless, it does surpass the incredibly low bar that has been set for it.
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