Directed by Kevin Reynolds.
Starring Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth and Cliff Curtis.
Joseph Fiennes stars as a world-weary Roman tribune leading the mother of all manhunts. The body of the crucified Christ has up and vanished, talk of the risen Messiah is spreading like wildfire and a flustered Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth) fears a potential Judean insurrection. Up against the clock and with very little to work with, Fiennes’s Clavius must root out Jesus’s disciples and get to the bottom of things before it’s too late. Biblical drama with Tom Felton and Cliff Curtis, directed by Waterworld’s Kevin Reynolds.
Reimagining a well-worn Biblical tale as a hard-boiled cop drama is an unquestionably excellent idea and – at least for a little while – Risen pulls it off. There’s a decidedly playful touch to the early proceedings, a bestubbled Joseph Fiennes playing seasoned tribune Clavius as a brooding, one-liner spewing action man.
He’s damn good at this day job, the best even, but squashing uprisings and restoring Roman order is a dusty, bloody business that’s starting to lose its lure. He is – as Lethal Weapon’s Roger Murtaugh would say – getting too old for this s**t.
Retiring to the country and starting a family will have to wait, though. Nazarene nuisance Yeshua (Curtis, The Dark Horse) has done a disappearing act, a state of affairs that would be less worrisome if he hadn’t been crucified and buried in a stone-sealed tomb just a few days prior.
Order-barking boss Pontius Pilate (an enjoyable Peter Firth) is having visions of marauding, Messiah-worshipping zealots and wants the whole mess sorted out pronto. New recruit Tom Felton (Harry Potter) is too wet behind the ears to take the lead, so Clavius gets roped into the whole ‘one last job’ shtick.
It’s at this point that things pretty much go off a cliff, the promising premise abandoned so our increasingly conflicted hero can walk the predictable path to becoming a believer. There’s certainly no heavy-handed Bible bashing, but the well-meaning message of peace, love and kindness doesn’t stack up to much as a cinematic experience.
The budget clearly being blown by the opening battle sequence and subsequent CGI building collapse doesn’t help things. It’s almost as though the cash supplies are running out in real time, the second half of the film resembling a low-rent Sunday afternoon costume drama populated by half the cast of an am-dram Easter production. All in all it’s innocuous but patience-testing, and a little out of place on the silver screen.
Buy Risen on Amazon UK or Amazon US
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
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