Movie Review: Risen imagines the Gospel as a Roman cop movie

Refreshingly unpretentious, Risen reimagines the Gospel as an ancient Roman cop movie, in which a seen-it-all military tribune and his rookie second-in-command have to track down the missing body of a recently crucified Jewish preacher. Shot in stolid widescreen, with every scene staged against a limestone wall or rock formation, Risen skates by for a time as a no-frills, budget-conscious genre piece, tailing Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) and Lucius (Tom Felton) as they knock on doors, interrogate Jews in potato-sack robes, and badger the occasional hippie Apostle at the bidding of limp-wristed Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth). Unquestionably sincere, the movie eschews the glowing blond Jesus of kitsch in favor of a brown-skinned Yeshua who hugs lepers, and avoids giving Clavius a cowering, “big speech” conversion. (In other words, this isn’t a real-life version of the film-within-a-film from Hail, Caesar!, though it looks like it at times.) But just as the …

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