Roman centurion, Clavius, (Joseph Fiennes) is ordered to kill Jesus of Nazareth (Cliff Curtis) in order to halt rumors of his divine status and subdue any uprising in Jerusalem. Clavius does as he is ordered. He orders the crucifixion of Christ and seals the body in a stone tomb. However, when the tomb is discovered three days later with seals broken and Christ’s body missing, Clavius is ordered to find the body before an uprising gains momentum.
If you had somehow lived under a rock for the last couple thousand years and hadn’t known the context of Jesus, The Bible, and Christianity in general, this movie might look like it has the action-heavy appeal of a manhunt in ancient Jerusalem: it’s gritty, harsh, and violent, with a similar stylized look along the lines of Gladiator. But that’s where it gets me suspicious. The viewers are aware of the context and in turning it into a manhunt-action-ish flick, it seems like it takes away some of the meaning behind the original story — whether you believe in it or not.
The production value looks quality, however, and the cinematography captures the desert quite beautifully, and with Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton in the main cast, the movie might intrigue some younger audiences. Additionally, having Kevin Reynolds as the director (known for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Waterworld) there seems to be a bit of hope the movie might turn out to be an intriguing depiction of a well-known story. As it is, the trailer looks like its setting the viewer up for a period action movie propped up with vague emotional tugs to add substance to what everyone will really go to watch this movie for: Joseph Fiennes in a centurion uniform.
Risen will be out in theaters on January 22, 2016.