Risen, the unofficial sequel to The Passion of the Christ, stays true to the Bible, even though it’s told from the perspective of a nonbeliever.

After 12 years, the unofficial sequel of the highly acclaimed bible-based film The Passion of the Christ is about to be released in theaters on February 19, 2016 just in time for the Lenten Season. Risen is an epic historical drama which revolves around the Biblical story of Jesus’ resurrection. The movie produced by Sony Pictures stars Joseph Fiennes (the lead character Clavius), Tom Felton (Lucius), Peter Firth (Pontius Pilate) and Cliff Curtis (Yeshua/Jesus). The story is written by Kevin Reynolds, Karen Janszen and Paul Aiello and is directed by Reynolds.

The film presents the personal experience of Clavius Aquila Valerius, a Roman centurion or tribune serving the governor of Judea Pontius Pilate. After rumors have spread of Yeshua’s alleged resurrection, Pilate commands Clavius to investigate the mystery and search for the body of Yeshua. The mission’s goal is to disprove the resurrection rumors and stop the impending uprising in Jerusalem that could eventually destroy the Roman Empire.

Clavius is aided by his lieutenant Lucius who, like his superior, also wants to achieve fame, money and power within the empire. The centurion who believes in no other supernatural being other than the Roman gods shall be surprised with numerous mysteries and miracles from the man whom he watch die on the cross several weeks ago.

According to critics, Risen presents to its viewers a fresh and the closest historical account behind Jesus’ resurrection. Except for the addition of the fictional character Clavius, much of the story is in fact accurate. The film was not created with religious intent but is purely laid out in a Roman or nonbeliever’s (Clavius) perspective. This makes it possible for Christians, non-Christians and non-believers alike to appreciate the film and the story of resurrection in an objective manner.

As Rich Peluso of AFFIRM Films of Sony Pictures explains “For Christians, it doesn't feel tired at all; it's a unique experience to see the story that we know and love through the eyes of a non-believer that's on his own journey. For the unchurched, it is probably the most accessible story of the life of Christ on film. You can come into the story and experience it without feeling like someone is trying to preach at you.”

Peluso added that “It's a story we know and love but from a completely different angle. We all know the story of Jesus meeting up with Cleopas on the road, but a few miles away in Jerusalem Caiaphas, the High Priest, and Pilate had to be wondering where the body went and tried to squash what they viewed as an uprising. Risen takes you through that journey on the other side of the story while still glimpsing the Gospel story.”

The biblical story of Jesus’ resurrection is considered to be one of the most important events in history for Christian believers because it proves the divinity of Jesus and the reality of God. After Jesus died on the cross paying for the sins of mankind, his resurrection also symbolized the promise of salvation especially for those who follow his words.

Risen has been in Sony Picture’s pipeline since 2007 and its supposed title is The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to Peluso, it took 12 years to come up with a possible sequel for The Passion of the Christ because none of the many scripts originally considered were as interesting and uniquely-delivered like that of Risen.

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