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Tom Sawyer
Risen: Opening Up Your Eyes
See more reviews by Jacob Sahms, Contributing Writer

In Sony’s Biblical thriller Risen, a Roman military officer is assigned to discover what happened to the corpse of Jesus Christ after the events of Easter weekend. Written by Paul Aiello and produced by Aiello’s brother, Patrick, the story is the unofficial sequel to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Now, audiences everywhere can take home the story and unpack the way that the Aiello brothers shared their faith in a powerful drama.

When Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) is assigned to track down the body of Jesus (Cliff Curtis), he and his aide, Lucius (Tom Felton), examine every clue and track down every lead. Like a detective story, the first half of the film asks questions about where Jesus’ body is and what could have possibly happened to it. But the audience, knowing where Jesus is, will recognize that this is more about where Clavius is on his faith journey and what the Resurrection means to the Roman culture and our world today.

While the average home media release includes a few deleted scenes and the trailer of the film, Sony and the Aiellos set out to deliver a release that takes us well behind the scenes. Whether it’s the way that Malta was transformed into 33 A.D. Jerusalem in “Creating A.D. Jerusalem” or the way that one of the more explosive scenes was put together in “The Battle of the Zealots Deconstructed,” there are production developments for everyone. But there’s more here about the story, too.

In “The Mystery of the Resurrection: Making Risen,” we hear from director Kevin Reynolds (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Count of Monte Cristo) and others; in “Script to Screen,” we get to see how the Aiellos worked to get the story they wanted to tell onto the screen. The feature commentary also provides key insights into what the Aiellos and the other producers were aiming for in making a film that could stand as the middle piece to a trilogy… but my lips are sealed.

Whether this is the first time you’ve seen this one or not, watching Risen will stretch you to consider what it was like in the first days of the early church, for those who believed and those who didn’t. Thankfully, the film doesn’t paint everyone into two camps: there are those who believe, those who don’t, and those who are undecided. It’s clear that with Risen, the creators are encouraging those who do believe and hoping their passionate portrayal will open the eyes of those in the other two camps.

Just like Clavius’.

The film will be available on May 24. 

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