A Biblical detective story : Risen tells the story of the Messiah manhunt, a Roman Tribune is tasked with finding the body of Jesus as claims of his resurrection threaten the power base of the Roman occupation and the Jewish priesthood.
Hollywood Biblical epics were once solemn affairs on a monstrous scale that would be thrust on to the TV schedules on Easter weekend to help ease in the post family meal snooze. Staying awake through Cecil B. Demille offerings is a test of will. Recent offerings have been caustically dismissed from Christians and critics alike. The near laughable Noah (2014) was derided by all and Exodus: Gods and Kings of the same year, had all the trappings of old school epics, including a painfully overwrought running time, but did little to justify the tag other than to place the word in front of “failure”.
Hollywood has long been aware of the financial rewards of Biblical storytelling. The TV series “The Bible” was an astounding success and Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ has shown studios that the market and audience exist, but trying to broaden appeal of such projects risks alienating the original demographic and providing a product that finds little success. Risen stumbles perilously between the camps of human drama and Christian transcendence handling one with confidence and the other with unclear objectives.