I hate to put this movie this low, because I really did admire what it was trying to do. Christian movies are bad – they're badly conceived, badly developed, badly written, badly shot – and the people who stan for them are people willing to overlook a great deal because they want to like them so badly. I understand the feeling entirely – anyone who loves movies has convinced themselves they're having a much better time at a critically acclaimed movie than they are at one point or another.
Risen is not bad. It's not good, really, but it's not bad. It's fine. It exists. It continues along for a period of time, then comes to an end. The production value is solid, it's made by professionals. The director is Kevin Reynolds, who directed Waterworld and The Count of Monte Cristo, and he stretches $20 million to try and make it look like $50 million (he doesn't really succeed – he just makes it look like he's trying to stretch out $20 million, but it's still miles above the cheap productions of most Christian movies). However, Joseph Fiennes* - who will always be known as one of the lesser of the Fiennes brothers** - is genuinely excellent here. He does perhaps the best work he's ever done on screen, even better than that time he got nominated for a BAFTA for acting giddy around Gwyneth Paltrow.
*please click on that link, just to see Fiennes' stupid hat.
**please click on that link as well, to find out what Ralph Fiennes real name is. It's better than you can possibly imagine.
But I spent most of this movie in a bit of a lull, never quite bored but also never really interested. The last third of the movie I spent wondering how a movie so dedicated to realism was going to handle the Ascension (it turned out that Jesus would walk offscreen and explode into a blinding light and dust flakes, which is a really dope way to exit a movie).
I exited the theater less aplomb, as did the theater-goers around me. If you'll excuse the pun (you won't, it's really bad), I'm pretty sure Jesus was the only one blown away by Risen.