Risen
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Risen

When it comes to accounts in the Bible that is naturally going to be a schism in those listening to them. There are those who have faith that they are real and others that are convinced that they are either tidally fabricated or modifications of real events provided but supernatural trappings. Most of them major scriptural events are treated by Hollywood in favor of those who believe. But no matter which side the personal convictions fall the latest film about the execution of Jesus Christ is bound to be interesting. All the orchestral elements of the film that Justin not gel, failing to come together as a completely cohesive narrative, the concept behind the film is sufficiently intriguing to warrant watching the movie. As anyone with even a modicum of understanding of the Scriptures will recall fulfillment of prophecy three days after his execution Jesus Christ had been resurrected and will remain sight of all this for 40 days. Most accounts of this period of time are told from the perspective of his disciples and apostles. In this context it was just a reassurance of what they had believed removing any nagging doubts they may have had. This movie provides a distinct and refreshingly different point of view character. It follows a Roman army officer as he tries to reconcile seeing a man he helped her execute once again walking among the living. This takes the plot of the film away from the reassurance of beliefs that many in the audience most likely already held to a man trying to reconcile what he is always strongly believe that the truth of the world with events that have changed the way humans navigate through life in a completely different direction. This is not so much a story about the ability of religious faith to change a man’s outlook on life but rather a psychological study of a man trying to cope with the dichotomy between what he has always been taught is true and the undeniable evidence before his eyes.

Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) is a Roman military Tribune was had experience in fighting the local zealots as a rebelled against the power of Rome. Clavius has just completed such an action against the local agitator, Barabbas. He is given new orders by the local Roman governor, Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth) to investigate charges that the recently executed Jewish Messiah, Yeshua (Cliff Curtis) has been raised from the dead. Clavius is order to prove the story to be false and fabricated by the followers of this so claimed the Messiah in order to further their plans of sedition. Certain that such a resurrection was impossible Clavius were certain that this would be a rather straightforward assignment as completion would be very beneficial to his career status. The keepers investigation takes in the more he is forced to realize between what he has been taught and firmly accepted as true cannot be reconciled with what he was seeing his own eyes.

For Clavius this assignment is not a matter of religious belief but rather one that was of great political importance. The entire debacle over the teachings of the radically rebellious Rabbi reflects quite seriously upon Pilate’s reputation and hope for advancement in rank and power. Clavius is under pressure by the governor locate the body and produce rooms to rest before the upcoming state visit by Cesar himself. From the perspective of the audience a ticking clock such as this cannot help but fail to bring the suspension tension such a plot device would on any normal circumstances. The difficulty is for the filmmaker, Kevin Reynolds, to devise a screenplay that can generate such requisite reactions by the audience for story where the end is so well-known. This is a bold undertaking for Mr. Reynolds considering the mixed reviews his previous stories have achieved. The list of his credits include ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ in the generally lamented base ‘Waterworld’. As this list demonstrates Mr. Reynolds has considerable experience in working with stories that are highly dependent on costuming and location is an integral part of telling the story.

One aspect of your mind you that never change no matter which time or place the story takes place in is that many hierarchy the fear of failure and the associated pressure always flows downhill. Pilate has more to contend with just the impending visit from Cesar; the local religious leaders also have a vested interest in finding the corpse of Yeshua in order to prove his teachings is blasphemous. There’s a very real possibility that if the body is not found Caiaphas (Stephen Greif), the leader of the Pharisees and not be able to hold back reaction of the population. Clavius is accustomed to the pressure to succeed having fought many battles in one many campaigns against those who would oppose the power of Rome and their belief in their gods. Once to see tomb is opened and the body is gone Clavius is confronted with something completely unfamiliar to his experience. He is not up against a superior military force but rather he now must contend with the battle that is rising up within him as everything he is always been taught to believe is being challenged with every new revelation his investigation brings.

Mr. Reynolds directorial style is highly effective from a visual perspective providing some grand panoramic shots of the world as it was to millennium ago. His expertise in handling crowds of costumed experts in imbuing his main cast with a realistic setting is a long way to help this film as we follow Clavius in his investigation. We are introduced to the remaining apostles as the resurrected Yeshua rejoins them. This is also one of the downsides of this film becomes apparent. Due to constraints of time there is no opportunity to differentiate any of the apostles as distinct personalities. They’re relegated to the position of a type of chorus whose only purpose is to reinforce the viewpoint of the faithful. Despite the lack of individuality en mass they do succeed in creating an atmosphere challenges Clavius further ablating his own long-held system of values.

Joseph Fiennes was born into a notable family of actors and is had his share of notable performances in both television and film. Regrettably Mr. Reynolds is not able to elicit the proper spectrum of emotional reactions that such a role required. Mr. Fiennes presented a very flat affect throughout much of the movie which diminishes the entire point of a man in the grips of major challenges to the foundation of his perception of reality. The problem with a character undergoing such angst is that it’s very easy for the performer to take the transition to an extreme. . Mr. Fiennes avoid this by going completely in the opposite direction on the playing what would have to be profound internal conflict. His character was a military man used to a world the considered as black or white, right or wrong. He had no foundation either emotionally or psychologically to anything that falls outside the realm of his experience. This leaves the film with the position of having a great deal of potential it unable to come close to fulfillment.

05/17/2016

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