Three Reasons I Enjoyed "Risen" | Nick Olszyk | CWR
Director Kevin Reynolds understands that evidence does not automatically equal faith and gives Clavius (and the audience) times to ponder what the mysterious events involving Jesus of Nazareth really mean.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
USCCB Rating: A-III
Reel Rating: (4 out of 5 reels):
Risen begins as a proto-detective story about a first-century Sherlock Holmes investigating the claims of Resurrection hours after its supposed happening. It’s a fascinating premise, so it’s a bit a jolt when the puzzle is solved less than an hour into its screen time. Yet it is even more surprising that the story becomes more interesting, not less. As a piece of craftsmanship, there are some flaws, but as a theological narrative and history mystery there is much to glean, as Bishop Barron has noted. Like the evidence itself, it lingers, even after acceptance.
There are three reasons in particular why I enjoyed Risen.
First, because of the “detective”. He is Roman tribune Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), Pilate’s “enforcer” who squashes any Judean dissent with violent retribution. A weathered veteran of many wars, he freely admits in a moment of rare vulnerability that all he wants is “peace…a day without death.” When Pilate asks him to supervise the crucifixion of three criminals, he carries out the task with all the zeal of notarizing an envelope. Yet, only days later, there is a rumor that one of these men has risen from the dead. “We must have a body,” Pilate sneers. Clavius goes to great lengths to find it: interviewing disciples, visiting the site, and even digging up graves. The answer seems easy at first, but a keen eye and cool intellect leads him to into places that question the “official story” and reveal something extraordinary.
Secondly, the gritty realism.