Did Hollywood Ruin The Resurrection? A Review of the New Movie Risen

by Jonathan Morrow

I had my whispered hopes but couldn’t be certain until I saw the evidence for myself. I had heard rumors…but could this really be true? Could Sony pictures be associated with a film on the resurrection of Jesus that was actually recognizably Christian that didn’t reinvent the ancient Gospel narratives into a sensationalized and cheesy script with poor acting?

Yes! The PG-13 rated Risen delivers at multiple levels and I am excited to share the good news with you this Easter season. Boasting actors like Tom Felton as Lucius (you will know him as Draco Malfoy form the Harry Potter movies) and starring Joseph Fiennes (American Horror Story, Enemy at the Gates, and Shakespeare in Love) as Clavius, this film is well acted. (Watch the trailer here).

Like other movie reviewers I have grown accustomed to B-grade Christian movies—well-intentioned—but not up to the quality of other major productions.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for Christian movies made for an evangelical Christian audience. But we also need movies that can capture the imagination of a post- and even anti-Christian culture—even for a few minutes. Because like it or not we are a culture of entertained skeptics.

Charlotte Allen wrote in her review of Risen published in the Wall Street Journal that:

“Nothing says cultural marginalization of Christians like the phrase “faith-based films.” The connotations: mediocre acting, directing and writing; cut-rate production values; and, most of all, niche product.”

And that sums up the common perception of Christian movies pretty well, but then she adds “‘Risen’ largely avoids melodramatic cliché…” and the title of her article is telling “A ‘Faith-Based Film’ Rises Above the Usual.” That’s not bad from someone inclined not to like Risen.

My Observations

Having spent a lot of time studying about and teaching on the historical evidence for the resurrection there’s a lot that could be said about Risen, but here are just a few of my thoughts…

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Did Hollywood Ruin The Resurrection? A Review of the New Movie Risen | Impact 360 Institute