‘Risen’ Reflects the Subversive Power of the Resurrection

by E. Stephen Burnett

Risen is a very good film that just happens to be marketed to faith-based audiences.

Please don’t be fooled. I am a skeptic — not of Jesus’s bodily resurrection, which serves as the historical basis for Risen‘s story — but of “Christian” movies. I don’t dislike their idea, because Christians should have subcultures, too, but rather, their usual execution. However, Risen does what it wants, and fulfills its own goal not only with biblical truth but with creative excellence.

Much of the time I was sitting in the theater gripped by emotion. I felt this way partly because of my personal connection to my Savior’s resurrection. Yet I was also thinking, “This is good. This is actually good. Will it stop being good? No, it’s actually staying good.”

This film isn’t a “biblical epic” as some reflexively label it. It’s a character journey.

Finally, I put away that childish thought. I found myself caught up in a simply told story based on the Story that transcends our comparatively small debates over “Christian” movies and how brilliant/terrible they are. This story subverts all that just by setting about its job: exploring one (fictional) human person’s response to the results of the resurrected Christ…

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‘Risen’ Reflects the Subversive Power of the Resurrection | Christ and Pop Culture