Seeing as I’ve been doing a run of video posts for Holy Week, I figure I should post one more for Easter to make a trilogy (or trinity) of it. In Sunday’s sermon I talked about how I always go searching through the media leading up to Easter for things to do with Jesus – every year you’re guaranteed to see something released, be it a variety of articles, a book, a documentary, or a movie. This year was pretty quiet though.
There was one exception though, and surprisingly it is a thoroughly orthodox look at Jesus and the Resurrection. It’s called Risen been released through a major studio (Columbia Pictures) and starts two well known Hollywood actors: Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, Enemy at the Gates) and Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter films); but it takes Jesus’ resurrection seriously and stays fairly close the Gospel accounts.
It’s also well written, directed, produced and acted. Not the best film I’ve seen, but well done. And it’s not overly preachy. It takes the perspective of Fiennes’ character, a Roman military Tribune named Clavius who is given the job of finding Jesus’ body after Easter by Pontius Pilate. Clavius is a hardened soldier, pragmatic and skeptical, and there is actually some genuine tension in the search (even though you can guess the outcome from what I’ve said so far).
In short it’s a rare gem – a Christian film I wouldn’t be embarrassed to take my non-Christian friends to see. Too bad it’s already out of theatres (it only ran for a couple of weeks up here in Canada and was gone by Easter). It will however be out on DVD and other media in May or June.
So if you want a Jesus film you can actually show to someone who isn’t already a Christian, or just a reminder of how unexpected and overwhelming the Resurrection was for those who first experienced it, Risen is worth looking at. Below I’ve included the better of the two trailers (mild warning: it does include a brief glimpse from the crucifixion), and a short clip from the movie itself.