“In my previous post, I talked about a trend in horror movies in recent years. On the absolutely opposite end of the spectrum, the past few years have seen a surge in faith based films. They’ve been seeming to incrementally increase in quality as they increase in reach. What was once a niche genre of poorly made uplifting films has started attracting bigger stars and audiences. I’ve mostly avoided them. I don’t have a problem with their message (in truth except for a few minor details, they line up with my beliefs), I have a problem with their quality and with their story. See the thing is, I was raised in a very Christian family (who avoiding missing Church on Sundays if possible, plus various other functions during the week), and I went to Catholic school. I’ve heard it all, in every way you can imagine. I’m not about to spend my weekend movie time hearing more of the same.
That was my initial reaction and aversion to Risen. How many times have I heard the Easter story, and how can you possibly make it fresh? Then I realized, this actually was perspective I hadn’t heard. This movie follows a solider who’s tasked with finding the body of the supposedly risen Messiah, so that they could disprove him once and for all. Except for a few songs in Jesus Christ Superstar, I’d only ever heard the believers’ side of the story, and hadn’t heard anything from those on the other side. That was enough to intrigue me. The cast including legit actor Joseph Fiennes with some help from Tom Felton made me think that maybe the quality of the film would be up to par. At the very least the acting would be.
And for the first half of the movie, it was kinda interesting. It played out like a suspenseful mystery, chasing down stories of sightings and busting into places shaking down answers from people. But then, things shifted about halfway through, and we were suddenly in overly familiar territory. And the rest of the film was, as I’d feared, yet another retread that didn’t offer up much new information.
I did appreciate seeing this story from a more secular viewpoint. In truth, I don’t know how much this falls into the faith based category or if it’s more mainstream that’s hoping to tap into that. I approached it as the later. In college, one of my favorite classes was The Bible as a literature class. It took the faith aspect out of it and analyzed it like any other book. This felt kinda similar.
What I didn’t really expect was that even though I wasn’t too enthused by well known events unfolding, there was a comfort in the familiarity of it. It made some sense why Christians have been flocking to these kind of films to reaffirm their faith. I’m not likely to run out to see the next one of these. I feel like The Big Guy and I have reached a nice understanding with each other on where I am with things, and if nothing else, I left feeling comfortable with that. It was nice.
Risen – \m/ \m/ \m/”