Risen (2016 film)

From Seeds of the Word, the encyclopedia of the influence of the Gospel on culture
Risen 2016 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKevin Reynolds
Produced by
  • Patrick Aiello
  • Mickey Liddell
  • Pete Shilaimon
Screenplay by
  • Kevin Reynolds
  • Paul Aiello
Story byPaul Aiello
Music byRoque Baños
CinematographyLorenzo Senatore
Edited bySteve Mirkovich
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • February 15, 2016 (2016-02-15) (Dallas)
  • February 19, 2016 (2016-02-19) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million[2]
Box office$46.4 million[3]

Risen is a 2016 American biblical drama film directed by Kevin Reynolds and written by Reynolds and Paul Aiello. The film stars Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth, and Cliff Curtis, and details a Roman soldier's search for Yeshua's body following his resurrection. Sony Pictures Releasing released the film to theaters in the United States on February 19, 2016. It received mixed reviews and grossed $46 million worldwide.


After crushing a Zealot revolt led by Barabbas, Clavius, a Roman Tribune, is sent by Pontius Pilate to expedite a crucifixion already in progress. Three days later he is appointed to investigate the rumors of a risen Jewish Messiah. Pilate orders him to locate the missing body of Yeshua, one of the crucified men. In doing so, Pilate seeks to quell an imminent uprising in Jerusalem before the Emperor arrives.[4] Failing to secure Yeshua's body, Clavius, with the support of his loyal aide Lucius, attempts to locate and question the disciples of Yeshua and those involved in his crucifixion and burial for clues to his disappearance.

Numerous leads are dug up, and their accounts soon become increasingly miraculous and difficult to believe. Some of the followers, such as Mary Magdalene and a man named Bartholomew, seemingly speak only in riddles and refuse to betray any others. Clavius' intense investigation begins to disturb both Romans and Hebrews alike, and Pilate, under pressure from many sides and fearful of Caesar's wrath, becomes increasingly distant and unsupportive. Running out of new leads, Clavius revisits a disgraced Roman soldier, assigned to guard Yeshua's cave tomb, now a drunkard, and vehemently shakes the drunken man out of a lie that he had previously stuck to. The soldier recounts a fantastic story that, on the morning Yeshua disappeared, a blinding flash had appeared, during which the stone and ropes sealing the tomb disintegrated, and a figure appeared, accompanied by a booming voice that sent him and a fellow soldier fleeing in fear. Clavius does not believe him.

During a raid through a Jewish enclave, Clavius unexpectedly discovers a seemingly resurrected Yeshua with his apostles in a solitary abode. Stunned, he calls off the search, barring Lucius and his men from finding Yeshua and the apostles. That night, another Roman raid, led by Lucius and Pilate, attacks the building that Clavius had forbidden them from entering, and finds it empty, save a note from Clavius, who has decided to continue the investigation on his own. Having abandoned Roman polytheism and the god Mars, Clavius, at first distrustful of the group, soon joins Yeshua and his followers on a journey to determine the validity of his mortal rejuvenation, during which he talks to and befriends both Yeshua and the apostle Peter.

Pilate deduces that Clavius has apparently betrayed him, and dispatches a contingent of Roman troops, led by a promoted Lucius, to pursue him and Yeshua. Clavius assists the disciples in evading the Roman search party, and, when caught personally by Lucius, Clavius disarms him, then convinces him to let them pass quietly. Consequently, Clavius witnesses Yeshua's miraculous healing of a leper, and then the ascension of Yeshua into Heaven; after which the Apostles split up to resume their journeys, and Clavius bids farewell to Peter. Later, communicating his travels to a stranger in a remote dwelling, Clavius acknowledges the strangeness of the tale and its veracity, feeling he will never be the same.

Yes, "Risen" is historical fiction, but it's largely harmonious with the Gospel story, incredibly well-done, and not much different from those Sunday School discussions many of us take part in week to week.

And even though Clavius is a fictional character, he represents every single person on the planet. Each person at one point or another searches for the Truth, and each of us – once confronted with the claims of Scripture – must decide whether we believe or reject the Gospel.

Fiennes, not surprisingly, stands out in his performance; and acting in the movie is a strength.

"I would love to see an auditorium with a mixed spectrum of spectators that enjoy the Scripture and the creativity together, and feel moved," he told me.

One final word: As with all films of historical fiction – and particularly one involving biblical characters -- we must be careful to separate fact from fiction. No doubt, many Christians and unbelievers alike will walk out of "Risen" this weekend, assuming the story was taken directly from the pages of Scripture. It wasn't – even if it is quite good.

But that doesn't mean "Risen" can't be used to share the Gospel with unbelievers, as well as to encourage, motivate and inspire Christians.

— Michael Foust, REVIEW: 'Risen' is Gospel infused historical fiction, https://www.christianexaminer.com/article/review-risen-is-gospel-infused-historical-fiction/50315.htm
  1. "RISEN (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. January 15, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  2. "'Deadpool' Still Cool In Weekend 2 With Superhero Set To Pass $200M – Box Office Preview". deadline.com. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  3. "Risen (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  4. Kit, Borys (September 30, 2013). "'Hatfields & McCoys' Director Tackling Jesus in 'Resurrection'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 1, 2015.