Risen: a new take on the Res­ur­rec­tion

The Church of England - - FRONT PAGE - Steve Par­ish

Risen (dir. Kevin Reynolds, cert. 12A), comes from Amer­i­can com­pany Af­firm Films, aimed at evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians, which is enough of an au­di­ence in the USA to make money. Un­for­tu­nately, UK pub­lic­ity for churches has been sparse – Chris­tian me­dia gave some cov­er­age but there was not much sign of the “reach­ing out to a coali­tion of lead­ing Protes­tant and Catholic in­flu­encers” that was part of the Amer­i­can pro­mo­tional strat­egy.

So it has ar­rived in Bri­tain with very lim­ited show­ings and may not even last over the Easter week­end. As Hail

Cae­sar! is still around, its de­pic­tion of Cal­vary may have to do.

Di­rec­tor Kevin Reynolds

( Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Water­world) brings to the res­ur­rec­tion story a view of a non-be­liever, Ro­man tri­bune Clav­ius (Joseph Fi­ennes). He’s been busy putting down re­bel­lions (one led by Barab­bas) but Pi­late wants him in charge of the cru­ci­fix­ion of Yeshua (Cliff Cur­tis), seal­ing his tomb, and then in the search for his miss­ing body.

It be­comes a de­tec­tive story un­til Clav­ius fi­nally tracks down the dis­ci­ples, and finds the risen Christ among them. Then his loy­alty – to Pi­late, to Rome, and to the god Mars – is tested.

The bi­b­li­cal nar­ra­tive is loosely fol­lowed, from Geth­se­mane to an as­cen­sion into the sun ris­ing over Galilee. Spain and Malta dou­ble for the Holy Land.

Ad­mit­tedly, no man­u­script has a Ro­man of­fi­cer fish­ing with the dis­ci­ples when Je­sus ap­pears and they let down the net on the other side and catch lots of fish. The style is per­haps not as bluntly pop­ulist as Joseph Fi­ennes puts it - “Yeshua’s res­ur­rec­tion re­ally is the mother of all mur­der mys­ter­ies” – but it tells the tale in a fresh way.

New Zealan­der Cur­tis (from Maori de­scent) has lit­tle to say, but looks rea­son­ably risen, and there’s good sup­port from Peter Firth as Pi­late, Tom Fel­ton as Clav­ius’s aide Lu­cius, Ste­wart Scu­d­amore as Peter, and Stephen Ha­gan as a very cheery (even be­fore the res­ur­rec­tion) Bartholomew. Un­less it stays a sec­ond week in some screens, this may be one for the DVD re­lease – and it’s not to be con­fused with High­Rise, the film adap­ta­tion of JG Bal­lard’s dystopian novel.

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