Wednesday, March 30, 2022

{Easter Movies on Pure Flix}—Risen (2016)

“Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. Mark 15:29-32 (NIV) 

Easter is just around the corner, and there's no time like the present to teach your kids about the holiday's true meaning. No, I'm referring to chocolate bunnies, egg hunts, and the Easter Bunny. I'm referring to the death and resurrection of Jesus - the hallmarks of the Christian faith. Easter is the time of rejoicing and remembering the sacrifice Jesus made for all of us.  

Pure Flix has many faith-driven films, including Christian Easter-themed movies, such as the unedited Passion of the Christ (available from March 20 to April 19), Risen, The Penitent Thief, The Messiah: A Brickfilm, and The Passion: A Brickfilm

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For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NIV)

Risen is a Biblical drama co-written and directed by Paul Reynolds (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Waterworld). Columbia Pictures released the film to theaters in February 2016. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $46 million against a reported $20 million budget. 

The film centers on Clavius Aquila Valerius Niger (Joseph Fiennes), a Roman tribune who is on orders by Pontius Pilate to locate the missing body of Yeshua (Jesus). Three days prior, Clavius had witnessed the ending moments of the crucifixion of Yeshua the Messiah (played by Cliff Curtis). Shortly later, rumors began circulating of a risen Jewish Messiah.  

Calvius begins an investigation to locate Jesus's body, but he's unable to do so. Instead, Calvius finds Mary Magdalene, Bartholomew, and other apostles in a building and, for a brief moment, sees a man who resembles Yeshua. Not knowing what to believe, Calvius helps the group escape the wrath of the Roman army and follows the apostles on a journey that will test his faith. 

WARNING - The film features violent depictions of war, fighting, execution, and the aftermath of war.

Final Thoughts

I had forgotten about Risen until I found it on Pure Flix. I had read the novelization in early 2016 but never got around to seeing the movie. It's one of those films that came and disappeared in the blink of an eye. Risen didn't receive much buzz upon its theatrical release and only did so-so at the box office, which might've had something to do with its February release date. It would've done better if it had come out around Easter.  

Risen is a beautiful-looking film with a talented cast. Despite its PG-13 rating, it does contain a lot of violent scenes that might be too intense for some viewers. (Though it's tame compared to Passion of the Christ.) 

Overall, I enjoyed watching Risen. It's an entertaining film from the perspective of a non-believer witnessing the execution and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I highly recommend it to others.

* Many thanks to Pure Flix for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own.

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