Risen starts with the idea of looking at the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the eyes of a skeptical Roman tribune. At first, he is to go to the crucifixion to just handle any last minute details so that the people who are following Jesus won't disrupt the peace of the city before the coming visit of the Emperor of Rome. Pontius Pilate does not want the Emperor to see him as an ineffective governor. So, Clavius, though whose eyes we see this event, first sees Christ on the cross. It is he that gives Joseph of Arimathea permission to bury Jesus.
Then word comes that Jesus has told his followers that he will rise from the dead. Neither the Romans nor the Jewish priesthood wants that to appear to happen. Of course, they don't believe it will really happen but they don't want anyone (especially Jesus' Disciples) to steal the body from the tomb and make it appear that Jesus has risen. So, Clavius is further tasked with guarding the body so that won't happen.
Well, then Jesus does rise and there is no body in the tomb. Once again, Pilate calls on Clavius to investigate this and find the body and show everyone that Jesus has not risen after all. Now the movie turns into a mystery - almost like an episode of Law and Order as suspects are hunted and witnesses interviewed. It's all very interesting and you see how it would have seemed to most people who were not followers of Jesus. How could this fantastic thing happen? Who would risk his life saying that it could happen? Who would defy the power of Rome and the Jewish priests to make something like up?
I thought maybe Clavius would continue to chase the truth throughout the rest of the movie and always be a step behind Jesus and his disciples but he finally does see Jesus, risen and alive, for himself. I liked the idea that the moment he sees Jesus alive, Clavius is changed. It just shows the importance of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection to the entire idea of Christianity. As one character says, "This changes...everything!"
This isn't the perfect movie. I didn't like the scene where Clavius saves the disciples from being captured by the Romans. And I wished that more of Jesus' teachings during the forty days from the resurrection and his ascension had been shown. And there is one scene where Clavius is alone with Jesus and has the opportunity to ask him anything. Boy, I was almost drooling thinking what I would have asked. But maybe I think too much of myself. I may have been just as dumbfounded as Clavius.
Anyway, I highly recommend this movie. You don't learn anything new but it makes you look at a familiar story in a new way. You can't asked for more than that.