Follows the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer. Clavius, a powerful Roman Military Tribune, and his aide Lucius, are tasked with solving the mystery of what happened to Yahshua in the weeks following the crucifixion, in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.Written by
Joseph Fiennes and Antonio Gil both appeared in the movie The Merchant of Venice (2004). See more »
When Clavius orders his soldier to run his spear into Jesus' side, it's presented as a kind of mercy killing, in preference his orders has to break the crucified criminals' legs to hasten their deaths. Historically, Romans never finished off crucifixion victims by spearing them. The New Testament indicates that Jesus had been dead for a while, and the soldier who speared him was checking to make sure he had died. See more »
Roman, huh? That's a Tribune's ring?
Have you come far?
[narrating as he remembers a battle in Judea]
Thirty years the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar has ruled the wasteland of Judea and its people. As Tribune to Prefect Ponpiu Pilate, my task is to keep order in a city that is steeped in unrest. The Jews pray to their single God, Yahweh, for the arrival of the mystical Messiah. As their religious leader, the Sanhedrin try to keep an uneasy peace. But each day creates more zealots ...
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Risen gave a fresh but solemn view of the biblical story of the aftermath of Jesus's crucifixion as it tells the story through the eyes of a conflicted and emotionally drained Roman soldier named Clavius. Clavius seems more of a tired observer with his deep stare and mellow manner, and he seems appalled by the violence that the Roman soldiers perform, violence that he himself is called on to perform as well. He is tired of it all and wants to retire to a quiet life with a family, without witnessing any more deaths. None-the-less, duty demands that he kill from time to time, which he dutifully does, and he seems half mortified over this, and half compliant. During the battle in the beginning of the movie, Clavius apathetically kills a Jewish rebel, and later, during the tri-crucifixion scene, he orders a Roman soldier to break a prisoner's leg as he's dying on the cross, then runs his spear through Jesus's ribs, and he's no more bothered by this than if someone fender-bendered him at the supermarket.
The way Fiennes played his role as a troubled Roman official was intriguing, capturing civilians to question them about the whereabouts of Jesus's body, then dismissing them at will. The viewer expected Clavius to perhaps resort to violence or torture to get his captures to speak and reveal where Jesus's body is, knowledge that he desperately needed to satisfy his commander, Pontius Pilate. However, Clavius never quite went that far, either out of compassion or exhaustion. While Fiennes was cast well, Curtis, who plays Jesus, is a cross between a California hippie and a happy skateboard dude in a Coke commercial. In his final good-bye scene, Jesus glibly calls across the sand yelling his farewell as if mom was telling her kids to be good while dad's in charge.
Clavius's young side kick Lucius is played by Tom Felton, and unlike Draco, Lucius follows Clavius around looking confused. Bartholomew was my favorite character. Clavius demands that Bartholomew tell him where Jesus's body is, and Bartholomew grins flippantly and conveys that he ain't telling nothing'! Clavius interrogates him more harshly, kicks him to the ground, and Bartholomew gets up and slowly approaches Clavius, solemnly bends down to his ear, and says, "he's everywhere!" Then Bartholomew beams and prances away; the joke's on Clavius! The only more comical scene was when Clavius asked a group of men, "Does any of you know Mary Magdalene?" and all of them raised their hands. One more -- I was amused when Mary Magdalene looked like Miss Karate Woman beats Godzilla when she kicked an advancing soldier out of her way and escaped through a stone window. Mary is cast well, but her role is too brief, as is all the twelve disciples who are never given any individual definition (except for Simon, who sometimes pouts, and who sometimes is as happy as Santa Claus). Pontius Pilate is old and whiny and is fixated on not upsetting public opinion. Maybe he was really like that, but they don't show the inner turmoil he must have felt being forced to kill an innocent man to placate the masses.
We all know the ending, but Risen takes an unorthodox (if you will) direction. We see facial expressions of shock and realization that tell the story better than computer-generated special effects, and we are constantly grounded into this time period with the frequent buzzing of flies over rotting bodies, hair filled with dust and sand, broken statues of the gods, and earthquakes that crack massive stone gates. Thus, Risen shows instead of tells, and doesn't preach, thank God.
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