A Movie Review

Movies have become a large part of our culture. Movies are a major form of entertainment that the vast majority of Christians and non-Christians alike enjoy. This is challenging to us because there are a lot of movies that contain subject matter or behavior that we would rather not be a part of. At the same time we live in a time and place where the movie is a very main stream form of entertainment and we are a part of the culture we live in. In some ways, Christians can appreciate these stories more than most, because we see more clearly the human condition.
In recent years there have been several quality movies that have been produced with the idea of providing entertainment and furthering the cause of Christ. There is something about seeing a story play out visually that makes it more real. For centuries now, actors have played stories out on stage, but now we have the ability through high definition filming and special effects to see things play out that we could never see before. We can see what war really looks like. We can see the terror of being in a sinking ship. We can visualize what the deepest reaches of space look like.
There remains one type of movie that for me, always draws a deep emotional response. Movies or stage dramas about our Savior always affect me profoundly. I think seeing the story of Jesus play out visually allows one to really appreciate the humanity of the characters. Also, knowing that what you are seeing really happened adds a dimension that a fantasy can’t duplicate.
Recently, I watched a movie called Risen. This movie was released by Sony in February of this year. (There might be some spoilers in the rest of this, so if you want to watch the movie maybe you’ll want to read the rest of this later.) This movie portrays the resurrection from a Roman standpoint. A tribune is assigned to investigate the disappearance of the body of Christ. What he finds, shocks him to his core. The man that he saw hanging dead on a cross is now alive and fellowshipping with his disciples before his very eyes. The movie plays out with this tribune abandoning his duties and following the disciples. At first, at a distance, then Peter brings him into the fold as they await further instructions from Jesus. The tribune becomes a bystander as the story plays out until the finale of Christ returning to the right hand of the Father. This tribune is obviously fictional, but enables the story to be told from a totally different perspective. I enjoyed this movie because it communicates to the watcher just how big of a deal the resurrection was. We fail to realize what an extraordinary event this was. Think of any popular figure today. What if that figure was executed and three days later the body turned up missing, even though the US military was guarding the grave. Then hundreds of people were able to give time, date, and place where they saw the person alive. If the resurrection could have been reasonably refuted, it would have been. The Jewish and Roman authorities did not want belief in the resurrection to grow.
The movie also provides a glimpse into the lives of the apostles at that time. Their unadulterated joy at seeing Jesus alive and their uncertainty about the future are striking and real. You can’t help but ponder what it will be like to actually see Him face to face. What will He say? What will I say? What will he look like? How will He have time to see each of us? The questions are limitless, but time will be too.
Movies like this can inspire us and draw us closer to our Lord. I thank God that he has allowed humanity this technology. When used appropriately it can bring glory to our Savior and provide a powerful presentation of the Gospel.