The Young Messiah, Risen, 2016

Risen PromoIf the trailers are to be believed, 2016 looks to be a big year for films.

These two, in particular, stand out. ‘The Young Messiah’, featuring Sean Bean – based on Anne Rice’s book ‘Christ the Lord‘ (Indie) and ‘Risen’, featuring Joseph Fiennes (Sony Pictures).

Joesph Fiennes’ performance as Martin Luther in ‘Luther (2003), buttressed by screen legend, the late, Sir Peter Ustinov, who played Prince Fredrich The Wise, was, in my opinion, outstanding. Whilst Sean Bean’s performance in the Napoleonic War series Sharpe endeared my wife and I to him as an actor, my theological curiosity leans me towards seeing how the story-line of the Fiennes’ film plays out. As a side note, the soundtracks for both films sound impressive. John Debney (Passion of the Christ) for The Young Messiah and Kai Rosenkranz for Risen.

Whether you’re fans of interpretations of Biblical stories on film or not, if you’re like me, they’ll at least kindle a cautious intrigue. Especially in how modern day (post-modern) storytellers provide artistic commentary on the context of the bible and the truths its authors painstakingly proclaim to have witnessed. In this case the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Along with seeing life being brought back into this genre.On a mainstream level, it’s encouraging to see well established actors willing to associate, accept and take an interest in playing such roles. That is as long as the filmmakers take the responsibility of their task seriously. Taking care in how they present the theology and handle the history; learning from past attempts, by doing their best to avoid the kitsch and questionable theology, that finds a good portion of these films being too easily labelled as the cheap propaganda of American Evangelicalism or a product of Hollywood’s nascent Christophobia [i].

It’s early days, but these two films show promise. They both suggest a thought-provoking and authentic perspective, thus avoiding the impression that they’re turning a serious message into simple fluffy religious entertainment.

The Young Messiah: Official FB Page

Risen: Official FB Page (worth a look)

[i] Term found in Marvin Olasky’s, ‘Standing for Christ in a Modern Babylon’ (p.66)

7 thoughts on “The Young Messiah, Risen, 2016

    1. Rod Lampard says:

      It’ll definitely be interesting to see how they present it and build a story around a Roman investigating it. If it’s conclusions are as serious as those in Ben Hur and Quo Vadis , then it’s probably got my vote.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Carl D'Agostino says:

    I plan to skip Young Messiah, would seem so much fantasy would discolor true impression of Jesus although I wish we could know more about his young life in Egypt and how if any influence of Egyptian religion rubbed off. Certainly Egyptian ideas of moral lives, judgment and afterlife are consistent with Judaism and Christianity. I know I will enjoy Risen even just for the scenery and costume presentation.


    1. Rod Lampard says:

      I haven’t done a great deal of research into the connections. From what I have studied, though, those connections are more cultural, political and societal than theological. I’d even state that the theological is a consistent challenge against a lot of that. For example: syncretism, slavery, idol worship, trade and commerce etc. and God’s Word of emancipation revealed in both Covenant and Christ.

      Liked by 1 person


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