Risen parents guide

Risen Parent Review

This New Testament inspired story is told with solid performances and some grisly depictions.

Overall B

After the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, some of his followers begin to claim he has risen from the dead. To squash these rumors and any possible ideas of rebellion amongst the Jews, a Roman Military Tribune (Joseph Fiennes) and his aide (Tom Felton) are sent to find the body of the executed religious leader.

Violence D+
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A
Substance Use C+

Risen is rated PG-13 for Biblical violence including some disturbing images.

Movie Review

Crucifixion is a gruesome business. But Roman Tribune Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) stomachs it in order to move up the ladder of command in the Empire. His ultimate goal is to reach a status where he doesn't have to deal with death everyday. However, it is the demise of a simple Nazarene that upends this soldier's world.

Barely back from a bloody battle with Jewish insurgents, Clavius is summoned to Pilate's (Peter Firth) side and given the task of quelling a local uproar. Egged on by Caiaphas (Stephen Greif) and other Jewish religious leaders, the Roman Prefect has ordered the crucifixion of Yeshua (Cliff Curtis). Now rumors are circulating that Yeshua (Jesus for English-speakers) will rise from the dead after three days. Pilate orders Clavius to make sure that doesn't happen.

But when the tomb, sealed by Clavius himself, is found empty as prophesied, the Tribune and his adjutant, Lucius (Tom Felton), are sent on a manhunt for a dead body and the disciples accused of stealing it. What Clavius stumbles upon instead is a man, not a myth.

This story, told from the perspective of a non-believer, opens with a graphic skirmish between soldiers and rebels in which characters are impaled with spears, run through with swords and pummeled with rocks. Some bloody injuries are shown, though not as many as you'd expect from this kind of encounter. The grisly depictions of crucifixion and decomposing bodies (which the soldiers are forced to rifle through) portray a sickening reality of ancient life -- one that many parents won't want their children and younger teens to see. It may also explain why several characters turn to alcohol, including a couple of soldiers who become drunk while on duty.

Directed by Kevin Reynolds, the script displays the constant wagering for religious power and political superiority that likely existed between the Romans and the subjugated Jews. Portrayed with rich cinematography, the film also contains solid performances from a strong cast and a gritty feel for the life of a soldier forced to do the dirty work of his superior.

Yet the real struggle in this narrative is not between captor and captive but in the heart of one man who tries to reconcile what he sees with his unbelief, even when the evidence stands right in front of him.

Review continues after the break...

Directed by Kevin Reynolds. Starring Tom Felton, Joseph Fiennes, Cliff Curtis . Running time: 108 minutes. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Risen here.

Risen Parents Guide

Read the Biblical account of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Matthew 27: 32-56.

How does the ambition of Clavius and Lucius set them apart from the older soldiers? Why is their ambition seen as both a good trait and a dangerous one in the Empire? While Pilate relies on Clavius to do his bidding, why does he also fear him?

Both Pilate and Clavius are seen washing their hands after dealing with the dirty work of the Empire. In what other ways do they emotionally deal with the difficult tasks in front of them?

“Seeing is believing” is an old adage many adhere to but Clavius still struggles to reconcile what he sees. How does the exercise of faith differ from detecting something with your eyes?

From the Studio:
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 Jesus in the weeks following the crucifixion, in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.
- Written by Sony Pictures