“Risen” captures the powerful influence of Christ and his followers on a Roman military tribune and is symbolic of the life-changing salvation experience converting the Gentile as well as the Jew. Joseph Fiennes is outstanding as Clavius, the Roman tribune, who is battle weary and weary of life, period. He carries out Pilate’s whims (played by Peter Firth) and has little patience with the Jewish Sanhedrin. Clavius is given the task of finding the hiding disciples, and he does locate Bartholomew, played humorously and charmingly by Joe Manjón. When Clavius demands that Bartholomew spills his knowledge as to the whereabouts of the other disciples, Bartholomew replies, “They are…everywhere!” and he laughs with delight.
The film contains a few head-scratching moments: Barabbas, who was released when Christ was condemned, is speared in the head and killed before Christ even dies on the cross. But, for the most part, the film does a good job in showing that Clavius just can’t explain away some things about Christ, his followers, and that empty tomb.
We are awarding it our “Faith-Based” Seal with a Caution for Violence. Its message is powerful, and Fiennes does a good job in keeping us engaged. The viewer can always tell by a simple expression on his face that he has questions going on in his mind about this Christ, questions the other Romans cannot explain. What he learns about this humble carpenter will literally change his life.