“Risen” is a soon-to-be-released Christian movie directed by Baylor University graduate Kevin Reynolds revolving around an investigation which occurs during the days following the resurrection of Christ, according to an article in Wikipedia. The release date is set for February 19, 2016.
The plot involves a Roman centurion who is charged by Pontius Pilate with investigating the reports of a risen Jesus Christ. Pilate is desperate to find the body of Jesus in order to prevent rioting in Jerusalem, according to this film which has been described as a historical drama. Joseph Fiennes plays the role of Clavius, the centurion, who is instructed to lead the investigation.
Work on the film began in 2013 with Kevin Reynolds slated to be director of the project initially entitled “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ,” It was labeled at the time a mystery thriller. Reynolds also wrote the script. The movie is produced by Affirm Films which previously was behind the making of movies ” Soul Surfer”,” Courageous” and “War Room”, according to Christian Broadcasting Network.
Rich Peluso, who is based in Nashville, produced the movie which features Fiennes (“Shakespeare in Love” and “Luther”). Peluso said of the film, “I absolutely fell in love with it.” He frist read the script for “Risen” in 2007. He further said, “It was just well-crafted, just strong writing. But more importantly was that it unabashedly told the story between the crucifixion into the full-on resurrection, into the ascension and traveled with Christ into Galilee with the disciples all the way to the ascension.. No one really ever tackles that. The second thing that was completely fresh about it was that most stories of Christ are told through either an omniscient point of view….or it’s through a disciples’ point of view.”
Peluso further said he liked other original aspects of this script. The producer said, “We have to think about the fact that when Jesus rose, the grave was empty. There were Romans that were there to guard it. What on earth was happening on the other side of the room that we’re not paying attention to? Something had to happen. At some point Caiaphas had to get the news that the tomb was empty, and at some point Caiaphas had to confront Pilate with it, who’d had him killed. Pilate, who had to have sanctioned the guards at the tomb had to have been embarassed.,because his military, who’s the greatest army in the world, just failed in their job. So there are all of these political, spiritual, social dominoes that are falling….”
Peluso also said the unique point of view of the story excited him, saying, “It’s from his story, an unbelieving pagan, Roman, powerful man who encounters these believers and who is thrust into really the most important event in human history.”
The producer said he believes nonbelievers will be able to relate more to the telling of this movie because it is told from the angle of a non-believer. The centurion has a dilemma. He initially wants to shut the stories down of Jesus Christ rising from the dead. His political bosses want him to end this investigation with a certain, pre-ordained result. One could compare it to the Kennedy Assassination and the political pressures which were reportedly brought to bear on the Warren Commission to reach a certain result.
However, in this movie the centurion is a moral, honest man who actually does want to find the truth. It is a long and winding road he follows as he encounters believers. Peluso said large audiences who are non-Christians have responded on four different test occasions that they don’t feel preached at. The producer further said, “Jesus is not talking at them heavily through this movie. It’s through Clavius’ interactions with the disciples that we learn of Jesus’ teachings and we learn who He is as the Son of God. And again, it all feels just so easy to try on for the unchurched.”
Movies may be the easiest way to reach people who never find their way inside a church doorway. Just as Billy Graham in the 20th century took the Bible to millions of people in remote locations around the world with his hugely successful crusades, the big screen may be the future for spreading the gospel in the 21st century to the most people.