Risen **

Just in time for Lent, a historical detective story with a Biblical twist.

Is it worth $10? No

A Roman soldier's soul and beliefs are tested in this version of the Biblical story of Jesus Christ's resurrection after death.

Devout Christians may enjoy this inspirational detective tale, but for everyone else "Risen" is unfortunately lacking. The Roman Tribune Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) was sent to watch the crucifixion of the Nazarene Yeshua, which is the name they use for Jesus Christ (Cliff Curtis). After an uproar of rumors that the Nazarene would rise after death, they sealed his body in a tomb and placed guards at the entrance. The next day, the body of the Nazarene was missing. In order to quell any further rumors, and a major revolt in Jerusalem, Clavius and his aide Lucius (Tom Felton) are tasked to solve this great mystery.

The writers try to create a semblance of realism to the time period. It also seems as if they are doing their best not to become overly preachy or grandiose in the verbage, as to not alienate the audience. It works well in some parts, not so much in others. They could have also included more character backstory in regards to the disciples for those of us who don't know much about the Bible. If they would have done that, it would have flowed much better.

Fiennes is well cast as the non-believing soldier who takes center stage, but eventually his glory is overtaken by Curtis, with his piercing gaze and soft demeanor (as many would perceive Jesus to have).  

Another bright spot is Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth), the condemner of Yeshua who desperately needs to prove that his resurrection is a hoax. Thankfully this is not another torture piece like "The Passion of the Christ," although there are some very intense scenes. The first half of the movie is mostly a detective mystery. The final act is more on the miraculous side of things.

Despite its good acting, the movie is sluggish in parts. Enjoyable quips are counteracted by occasionally over-acted speeches. The most offsetting part is how they leap from a very well put-together historic mystery to what seems to be a forced turn into a magical faith-based Bible story. It was as if, half way through the movie someone took you out of one genre and dropped you right into another without one word of warning.

If you want an entertaining Messiah story, with a decent attempt at keeping itself grounded, then look no further. However, I pray you consider saving your money for a future viewing at home.

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