When I decided to see RISEN, the new faithploitation film from Affirm Films, the intent was to view it in critic mode. What is critic mode? It's when I go into a movie knowing full well I am probably going to hate it. Similar to having low expectations but the difference being, I might riff on the critic mode selection? I'm shocked to report that with RISEN, no riffing occurred. It turns out that RISEN is pretty good!
Unlike other Affirm Films productions, RISEN doesn't come off as preachy. In fact RISEN plays the sword and sandals genre pretty straight. Thanks in large part to director Kevin Reynolds, most known for the Kevin Costner classic ROBIN HOOD PRINCE OF THIEVES. Or WATERWORLD, depending on your definition of classic? But in all seriousness RISEN is well made. And it is so far my favorite of the faith based films that have become quite popular these past few years.
RISEN takes place days after the crucifixion of Christ. After the third day, Jesus returns just like he said he would. Both Jews and Romans become concerned and Pontius Pilate sends Roman military Tribune, Clavius to find the body of Jesus. During his search in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah, Clavius finds the thing he least expected. The Truth.
The first half of RISEN is the strongest. I was entertained with Clavius and his newly assigned partner Lucius searching and interrogating followers of Christ. I liked how Clavius kept digging for truth. Especially the scenes involving the Roman soldiers assigned to guard the tomb.
The second half is good but not as strong. Mainly because the film starts to drag at this point. But the slow transformation of Clavius is strikingly convincing due in large part to actor Joseph Fiennes.
My experiences with the faith-based genre have never been good. Yes, there have been good stories/messages told now and then, but almost always the production value and acting in these movies are terrible. And I've never been a fan of the mentality that one should support a faith-based film just because they are a Christian? That just sounds ridiculous to me! Hence, my inkling to watch RISEN in critic mode.
So it's a no brainer that the main reason I like RISEN, the main reason why I would recommend RISEN, is because RISEN looks and feels like a real movie. Great production value. And the acting is solid, mostly due to British thespians. And Cliff Curtis plays the role of Jesus. Which he did a fantastic job, tasteful representation in my opinion.
I give RISEN a strong recommendation! It looks good on the big screen, so take in a matinee.
And lastly, I'm kidding about watching RISEN and THE WITCH together. It was a cool double feature, but it's definitely not for the faint of heart!