Risen: A Movie Review On A Blog Where I Don’t Do Movie Reviews – Ha!

imagesNormally, I don’t do movie reviews. Mostly because this is a writing site, not a movie site. But I just saw a film yesterday that I was crazy about, and so I wanted to share on briefly.

It’s called Risen and, yes, it hit theaters a few month ago, so this is kind of a late review, but I am reviewing it anyway.

First let me say, I’ve been turned off by biblical stories lately. Yes, I am a devout Christian, and yes I love my Lord. But Hollywood has a funny way of turning every nation of people who aren’t “savages” into white people, even when historically such people were not white (yes, Exodus: Gods and Kings, I am talking to you – and just about every Hollywood rendition of biblical tales that has ever hit the screen).

Granted, Risen has its faults. For example, I was not buying the whole Shroud of Turin thing; after all, the Shroud has been dated to the Middle Ages, which clearly doesn’t match up with the time of Jesus’ physical existence (also, the face is strangely European, and so doesn’t correspond with the image of what  a Jewish man living in the Near East  2,000 years ago in Judea would have looked like).

But let me not digress. Let me talk about what I did like.

Joseph Fiennes was fantastic in this role. He was so intense that I came to really respect him as an actor (but not to the point where I think he should be playing Michael Jackson in a movie). He was a man committed fiercely to his job as a Roman Tribune, a man of great brutality, but also a man conflicted in his search of truth and of God. In short, he reminded thelastking3 (1)me of Gilead from my novel The Last King.

I really believed him as a man who was out to do a job, and then, when confronted with the physical reality of Jesus resurrection (yes, I honestly believe the resurrection HAPPENED), he had to make a choice that confused and bewildered him – but also sets him free, in a way; free to not need to be the man of blood he had become. In short, Joe Fiennes was awesome.

imagesYet my favorite part of the film was Jesus. My man. Thankfully, he didn’t look like some blonde Bohemian from California. He had some color to him (could have had more, but I ain’t complaining) and he was not wildly good looking, either, which I also appreciated (Isaiah 53:2 says the suffering servant had no beauty of majesty to attract us to him; not that I am trying to dis actor Cliff Curtis – as he does have some swag). But in the film he was kind of like, you know, a regular dude. And when “Jesus” first came on the screen alive after his death, I wanted to cry, imagining what it must have felt like for the disciples to see him risen all those years ago. Such joy and relief.

Finally, at the end, when we see Jesus walking along the shore of Galilee, I wanted to jump out of the boat with the disciples were and start screaming,”Jesus, wait for me, too. I’m coming.” Yes, I imagined myself swimming to the shore after him.

Then when “Jesus”finally left the disciples to return to God altogether, I again put myself in the movie (a good film should be so visceral that you place yourself in it), and had an urge to cry out, “Jesus, wait for me. Don’t leave me. It’s me, Yamina.”

I’m such a sap. I know. But the film had great cinematography, good action scenes and a strong male lead. I give the film two thumbs up and Jesus, like, a billion thumbs up.



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