Monday, December 21, 2015

Movie to be released in February 2016: “Risen”

Here’s a movie coming in February that you should seriously consider watching: 

Risen tells the story of the Resurrection through the eyes of a Roman tribune, Clavius (Joseph Fiennes, Shakespeare in Love, Hercules). Clavius and his aide, Lucius (Tom Felton, Harry Potter), are first ordered to oversee the execution of Jesus (Cliff Curtis, Fear the Walking Dead), then to insure that the Nazarene’s tomb is sealed and guarded. When the tomb is opened and the body disappears, Pilate (Peter Firth, The Hunt for Red October, MI-5) orders Clavius to hunt down the body.

Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) and Lucius (Tom Felton) execute orders
from Pontius Pilate. (Photo: Columbia Pictures.)
The movie is directed by Kevin Reynolds, whose past body of work is, to put it charitably, uneven, ranging from the very well-received Tristan & Isolde and the miniseries Hatfields & McCoys to the disappointing Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. However, Reynolds, who cowrote the script with Paul Aiello, has shown that he has an eye for authentic detail and good production values, and he can tell a story well. On top of that, Fiennes and Firth are both award-winning actors, while Felton grew into a respectable actor right in front of us.

I wouldn’t blame you if you think the ending will be predictable. However, sometimes you can get joy out of a film even if you “know how it ends”; for instance, I really enjoyed the movie Glory despite my advance knowledge of what happened to Col. Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts at Fort Wagner (being a Civil Warr buff will do that to you). It’s all in how the screenwriter(s) and director get us from Point A to Point B.

I don’t expect the film to settle any questions or answer any doubts; I expect that Reynolds et alia are telling a story, not arguing a case for the Resurrection. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Risen is judged on its ability to “sell” Clavius’ change from disbelief to belief. That would be sufficient reason to see it.

Risen, a film from Columbia Pictures and LD Entertainment in Association with AFFIRM Films, is scheduled for nationwide release on February 19, 2016.