Now out on Blu-ray and DVD, Risen (108 minutes, PG-13) focuses on the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Cliff Curtis), but from an entirely different vantage point. Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) is a Roman tribune and non-believer who is tasked with finding the body of Christ, which has gone missing after his crucifixion. Clavius is under huge pressure from Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth) to find the corpse, as a missing Christ will only strengthen his followers’ belief that the son of God truly walked the Earth.
Harry Potter vet Tom Felton is Lucius, a fellow Roman who helps Clavius on his quest and is more than ready to punish anyone who impedes their mission.
One of the impressive facets behind Risen is that with a reported $20 million budget, director Kevin Reynolds (The Count of Monte Cristo, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) infuses the movie with enough epic scale to draw viewers into this arresting tale, which is essentially a mystery on what truly happened to Christ. Naysayers of the film may claim it’s a purely faith-based picture, but Risen has enough riveting action and compelling melodrama to keep one engaged. As the morally conflicted Clavius, Fiennes also turns in some of his best work to date, and even if Biblical features are not your cup of team, Risen may engage you on an entirely different level.
Special features on Risen include audio commentary from producer Patrick Aiello and co-writer Paul Aiello, several deleted scenes (one of which features the hanging of Judas Iscariot and another gives more depth to Felton’s character), and the featurettes “The Battle of the Zealots Deconstructed,” “The Mystery of the Resurrection,” “Script to Screen,” and “Creating A.D. Jerusalem.”
The visual scope and production design of Risen was particularly impressive, so learning how the crew designed the sets in Malta as well as checking out the behind the scenes details on shooting off a coastal area in Spain (for the Galilee sequences) were of particular interest (these details are discussed in “Creating A.D. Jerusalem”).