Risen (2016 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byKevin Reynolds
Screenplay by
  • Kevin Reynolds
  • Paul Aiello
Story byPaul Aiello
Produced by
  • Patrick Aiello
  • Mickey Liddell
  • Pete Shilaimon
CinematographyLorenzo Senatore
Edited bySteve Mirkovich
Music byRoque Baños
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release dates
  • February 15, 2016 (2016-02-15) (Dallas)
  • February 19, 2016 (2016-02-19) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes[1]
CountriesUnited States
Budget$20 million[2]
Box office$46.4 million[3]

Risen is a 2016 biblical drama film directed by Kevin Reynolds and written by Reynolds and Paul Aiello. An American-Spanish co-production, the film stars Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth, and Cliff Curtis, and details a Roman soldier's search for Yeshua's body following his resurrection. Columbia Pictures released the film to theaters in the United States on February 19, 2016. It received mixed reviews and grossed $46 million worldwide.


Clavius, a Roman Tribune of Legio X Fretensis, supervises the crucifixion of Yeshua, (Jesus), and orders his men to guard the dead body. The body disappears, and the soldiers claim Yeshua's followers stole it to make it appear that he rose from the dead. So Pontius Pilate orders Clavius to find the body, to quell an imminent uprising in Jerusalem before the Emperor arrives. Clavius and his aide Lucius question people who claim to have seen Yeshua after the resurrection.

Numerous leads are dug up, and their accounts soon become increasingly miraculous and difficult to believe. Some of the followers, such as Mary Magdalene and Bartholomew, seemingly speak only in riddles and refuse to betray any others. Clavius' intense investigation begins to disturb both Romans and Hebrews alike, and Pilate, under pressure from many sides and fearful of Caesar's wrath, becomes increasingly distant and unsupportive. Running out of new leads, Clavius revisits a disgraced Roman soldier, assigned to guard Yeshua's cave tomb, now a drunkard, and vehemently shakes the drunken man out of a lie that he had previously stuck to. The soldier recounts a fantastic story that, on the morning Yeshua disappeared, a blinding flash had appeared, during which the stone and ropes sealing the tomb disintegrated, and a figure appeared, accompanied by a booming voice that sent him and a fellow soldier fleeing in fear. Clavius does not believe him.

During a raid through a Jewish enclave, Clavius unexpectedly discovers a seemingly resurrected Yeshua with his apostles in a solitary abode. Stunned, he calls off the search, barring Lucius and his men from finding Yeshua and the apostles. Clavius goes inside the house and makes eye contact with Yeshua. Clavius is in disbelief as he saw Yeshua be crucified. That night, another Roman raid, led by Lucius and Pilate, attacks the building that Clavius had forbidden them from entering, and finds it empty, save a note from Clavius, who has decided to follow Jesus and the disciples. Having abandoned Roman polytheism and the god Mars, Clavius, at first distrustful of the group, soon joins Yeshua and his followers on a journey to determine the validity of his mortal rejuvenation, during which he talks to and befriends both Yeshua and the apostle Peter.

Pilate deduces that Clavius has apparently betrayed him, and dispatches a contingent of Roman troops, led by a promoted Lucius, to pursue him and Yeshua. Clavius assists the disciples in evading the Roman search party, and, when caught by Lucius, Clavius disarms him, then convinces him to let them pass quietly. Consequently, Clavius witnesses Yeshua's miraculous healing of a leper, and then the ascension of Yeshua into Heaven; after which the Apostles split up to resume their journeys, and Clavius bids farewell to Peter. Later, communicating his travels to a stranger in a remote dwelling, Clavius acknowledges the strangeness of the tale and its veracity, feeling he will never be the same.


Actor Joseph Fiennes, who portrayed Roman Tribune Clavius.


In 2013, Kevin Reynolds was brought aboard as director for the planned project The Resurrection of Jesus Christ,[4] a film intended as a mystery/thriller and "unofficial sequel" to The Passion of the Christ, with a script written by Paul Aiello, Karen Janszen and Reynolds.[5]

The film was shot in Malta and Spain between August and November 2015.[6]


The film held its world premiere on February 15, 2016, at the Highland Park Village Theatre in Dallas, Texas.[7] Columbia Pictures then released it in the United States on February 19, 2016.[8]

Home media[edit]

Risen was released on digital media on May 10, 2016, and was followed by a DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD release on May 24, 2016, from AFFIRM Films and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.[9][10] The film debuted in second place on home video sales charts behind Deadpool for the week ending May 29, 2016.[11]


Box office[edit]

Risen grossed $36.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $9.2 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $46.1 million, against a production budget of $20 million.[3]

In the United States and Canada, pre-release tracking suggested the film would gross $7–12 million from 2,915 theaters in its opening weekend, alongside Race and The Witch.[2] The film grossed $4 million on its first day and $11.8 million in its opening weekend, finishing third at the box office behind Deadpool ($56.5 million) and Kung Fu Panda 3 ($12.5 million).[12]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 53% based on 132 reviews, with an average rating of 5.60/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Risen benefits from a lighter tone than many faith-based productions, as well as a unique take on the Greatest Story Ever Told and a terrific turn from star Joseph Fiennes."[13] On Metacritic it has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[15][12]

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two out of four stars, praising the different take on the story as well as the supporting actors, but criticizing Fiennes' stoic performance.[16] Megan Basham of WORLD applauded the film, writing, "It's undeniably one of the higher-quality faith-based films to hit theaters in recent years, with acting, writing, and production values to rival other mainstream releases."[17] Michael Foust of The Christian Examiner gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars and called it "a detective-type story that is inspiring and moving." "Yes, Risen is historical fiction, but it's largely harmonious with the Gospel story, incredibly well done, and not much different from those Sunday School discussions many of us take part in week to week," Foust wrote.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "RISEN (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. January 15, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "'Deadpool' Still Cool In Weekend 2 With Superhero Set To Pass $200M – Box Office Preview". deadline.com. February 17, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Risen (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  4. ^ Pulver, Andrew (October 1, 2013). "Jesus's resurrection to become Hollywood thriller". The Guardian. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  5. ^ Kroll, Justin (September 30, 2013). "Kevin Reynolds Tapped to Direct 'Resurrection' for LD Entertainment". Variety. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  6. ^ "Filmed in Malta: 'Risen' tells resurrection tale through a sceptic". The Malta Independent. February 20, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  7. ^ HP Village Gets Dose of Hollywood Park Cities People, February 15, 2016
  8. ^ "The Trailer for Risen, Starring Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton". comingsoon.net. April 29, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  9. ^ "RISEN Debuts on Digital and More in May". Religion News Service. April 25, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  10. ^ Silas Lesnick (May 24, 2016). "May 24: This Week on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  11. ^ Thomas K. Arnold (June 1, 2016). "'Deadpool' Marks Third Week Atop Home-Video Charts". Variety. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "'Deadpool' Strong With Second Weekend Of $55M; 'Risen' Takes $11.8M, 'Witch' At $8.7M". Deadline Hollywood. February 21, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  13. ^ "Risen (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  14. ^ "Risen Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  15. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com – via Twitter.
  16. ^ "'Risen': Biblical semi-epic turns silly at times, grisly at others". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on February 20, 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  17. ^ "Epic renewal - WORLD". world.wng.org. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  18. ^ Michael Foust (February 18, 2016). "REVIEW: 'Risen' is Gospel infused historical fiction". The Christian Examiner. Retrieved May 4, 2021.

External links[edit]