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Film / Risen

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Risen is a Biblical drama film from Columbia Pictures, starring Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton and directed by Kevin Reynolds. It was released on February 19, 2016. Fiennes plays a Roman tribune named Clavius who keeps the peace in Judaea and Felton plays Lucius, Clavius's aide.

Clavius is ordered to find the missing body of the recently executed rabble-rousing preacher Yeshua (Cliff Curtis) after it disappears from its tomb, as the governor Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth) is concerned about Yeshua's followers, who claim he rose from the dead, and other malcontents possibly causing unrest during an imminent visit from the Emperor.

Trailer 1, Trailer 2.

Not to be confused with the alien invasion film Risen 2021.

Tropes in the film include:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, gets to play a character named Lucius in this film.
    • Selva Rasalingam, who plays James the Great, portrayed Jesus in the Lumo Project’s adaptations of the four gospels.
    • A variation applies to Joseph Fiennes as his brother Ralph previously played Jesus in The Miracle Maker.
  • Ascended Extra: Bartholomew is scarcely mentioned outside the obligatory list of Twelve Apostle names in the Gospels, here he is the first of the disciples Clavius meets and gives him insight into just who Yeshua's followers are.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: Prickly pears are seen growing all around Pilate's mansion. Prickly pears DO grow in the Middle East, and their fruit is highly favored, but they were introduced from the Americas, meaning they would not have been present in the first century AD.
  • All-Loving Hero: Emphasized about Yeshua, and apparently it's been rubbing off on his followers.
  • Anachronism Stew: A minor one regarding names - Jesus is called the period-appropriate Hebrew name Yeshua but other Biblical characters like Mary Magdalene and Peter are called by their modern English names.
  • Artistic License – History: The Emperor Tiberius plans to visit Jerusalem like in the 2015 Biblical TV series AD: The Bible Continues, but the real Tiberius never did.
  • Bible Times: 1st-century Judaea.
  • Canon Foreigner: Clavius, who is inserted into some scenes from the Christian Gospels.
  • Death by Adaptation: Clavius is introduced fighting Jewish rebels led by Barabbas, who is said in the Gospels to be freed in Jesus's place on the same day the latter died. Apparently he was in a hurry to fight Romans again.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Apostle John's role in witnessing the crucifixion is omitted.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Two of the soldiers who took part in Jesus's execution are happy at the chance to have some wine, and then hit this trope ''really' hard after witnessing the resurrection.
  • Due to the Dead: The major plot point with regards to Yeshua, natch. Also seen with the Romans, where the legionaries killed in the opening skirmish are taken outside the city and ceremoniously cremated, per Roman custom. Massively averted with the two criminals executed with Yeshua, who are hurriedly removed from their crosses and dumped in a nearby charnel pit.
  • The Empire: Rome is shown fulfilling its role as this.
  • Exact Words: Bartholomew makes a deal with Clavius that he will be let go if he tells the Romans where to find Yeshua's disciples. He makes sure Clavius gives his word that he will be freed before he tells him "They're everywhere". Cut to Bartholomew being released.
  • Face–Heel Turn: one man who is first seen discussing the alleged resurrection with genuine interest and gets taken in for it, is quickly bribed by Clavius and starts spying on the disciples for The Romans.
  • Funny Background Event: After the disappearance of Yeshua's body, Pilate gripes that he's going to be harassed by the Sanhedrin - just as said Sanhedrin are walking into the room behind him.
  • I Never Told You My Name / The Omniscient: Yeshua, when Clavius finally finds him. He even recounts something that Clavius had said to Pilate earlier in the film, while Yeshua was dead.
  • La Résistance: Barabbas and the Zealots.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Events that the Bible describes as explicitly supernatural aren't highlighted as such. The darkness that covers the sky during Yeshua's death is just the day being cloudy, and it's not like earthquakes are unheard of in those parts. Yeshua's resurrection is unseen, because the guards supposed to be watching over him were drunk and couldn't be sure of what they saw. Clavius' encounter with the risen Yeshua, however, firmly puts everything in perspective as the works of the divine.
  • Meaningful Name: Clavius, whose name could be translated into English as "key".
  • The Queen's Latin: The Romans are played by British actors.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Clavius is shown to be a devout worshipper of the gods, particularly Mars. Early in his investigation, he decides to do as the Hebrews do and prays to the Jewish god, promising that if he is successful, he will erect temples and host games in his honor.
  • Reverse Whodunnit: Technically. Viewers can probably guess how Jesus disappeared, but the film is about Clavius finding out.
  • Right Behind Me: See Funny Background Event above.
  • Running Gag: Poor Clavius is constantly summoned to report to Pilate by the same messenger. It gets to the point that he sees the guy approaching and says "I am summoned by Pilate" before the messenger can get a word out.
  • Scenery Porn: The film was shot in Spain (for the outdoor scenes) and Malta (for the indoor scenes) allowing for a decent amount of this.
  • Sword and Sandal: Romans vs. Zealots.
  • To the Pain: When Bartholomew gladly offers to let himself be crucified, Clavius shows him one of the (huge) nails they use and describes, in agonizing detail, what the process feels like. By the end, Bartholomew is looking less enthusiastic and more ill.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Yeshua really did rise from the dead, and Clavius talks to him.
  • Walking the Earth: Clavius' apparent fate.
  • You Are in Command Now: Yeshua to Peter.