Nothing says cultural marginalization of Christians like the phrase “faith-based films.” The connotations: mediocre acting, directing and writing; cut-rate production values; and, most of all, niche product.
When I went to see “Risen,” the freshly released New Testament movie from “Waterworld” director Kevin Reynolds, I sat through previews for “The Young Messiah” and “God’s Not Dead 2” (yes, there was a “God’s Not Dead” 1), and the latter at least looked as though it embodied what I mentioned about talent and budget.
Yet with a nationwide release and at least one A-list star, “Risen” has performed reasonably well at the box office. It was the third-highest-grossing movie last weekend, when it opened, bringing in $11 million””a good showing for a project with a $20 million budget.
That may be because Mr. Reynolds has””for the most part””avoided the melodramatic clichÃ©s that have marred many an overblown Jesus movie.