Movies are NOT usually my thing --
so if I am writing about it -
you know it knocked my socks off!!
Risen, is much more than a purely cinematic experience. Though on that level, it was incredibly well done, the casting especially impressed me. If a character is not cast correctly they will hinder my ability to be transported in time and thought by the story. Honestly, I'm still not over Jim Caviezel's teeth in the Passion of Christ!! Clavius, Pilate, Mary Magdalene and especially Jesus, were all portrayed beautifully. Furthermore, the storyline was a very plausible scenario, and this is where it became more than just a movie. This plot challenged me to consider which side would I have been on? Would I have believed that Jesus was the Messiah? More importantly, after his Crucifixion, when all seemed lost, would I have believed He'd risen from the dead?
Today I want to offer a reflection ...not a review:
Halfway through our viewing of the movie Risen (coming on DVD May 24th) - my husband, Kevin, turned to me and said; "Do you ever wonder what you would have believed if you were there during the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus?" While it is impossible to know how exactly I have believe, there is way too much hindsight and history behind my contemplation - I am very certain I would have been like Nicodemus. The one who was curious, sensed there was something to what this man was preaching, and followed him in secret; however in the end, after all he had heard and witnessed, was truly convinced Jesus was the Messiah. If 2000 years later, this is who I am, why would I have been any different if it was unfolding before my very eyes.
What drew me so deeply into the plot of Risen was acknowledging in me, like so many people I presume, there is an non-believer wrestling with finding Jesus (dead or alive). As I journeyed along with Clavius, the Roman tribune appointed by Pilate to find the missing body of Jesus so that the whole Messiah idea mess could be put to rest; I found myself analyzing the evidence on which I base my own faith, anew. Mine is not a blind, child-like faith - though I wish it were. Like "Doubting" St. Thomas, I want the physical evidence of the Resurrection. Even as I contemplate Jesus' words to Thomas as to the tremendous blessing of those who DO NOT see and yet believe (of which group I would belong); my heart still longs to be in that upper room when Jesus appeared so that I may come to know and believe with my eyes.
Though fictional, how envious I was of Clavius' opportunity to have a private conversation with Jesus. How beautifully this scene depicts how gentle, honest and loving Jesus speaks to our confused or tortured hearts; meeting us where we are at and telling us exactly what we need to hear. I was jealous until I remembered Jesus does make himself available to me every moment of every day. In fact, it was opening the bible and reading Jesus' teachings in the Gospels that was the turning point in my journey from skeptic to believer. As I uncovered the truth in God's word - as I experienced Christ through these eye-witness accounts, I become more curious to who Jesus really was. As Clavius was questioning the very joyful, enthusiastic Apostle Nathaniel (aka Bartholomew), I realized that this encounter would not bring conversion, but does often draw us to ask more questions and to seek further information for ourselves.
For me this came in spending more time in prayer, practice of the Sacraments and reading of the scriptures. Like Clavius, I believed in something greater than me but I was unsure who or how real that Power was - and once face to face with Jesus' love would be brought to my knees. That moment Jesus speaks to your heart with words of comfort and clarity that NO OTHER being had or could, that is the moment of conversion.
BONUS FEATURE & seen only here!!
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
**Advanced screening of Risen on DVD provided for an honest review and/or reflection as part of the Risen DVD - OUT NOW. HURRY last chance to win a copy of RISEN ends Sunday, June 19th!! Win and you can Surprise DAD with a fabulous movie just through in a Trappist Monk Ale Pack and Catholic Beard Balm!!