Christian Group Known for Criticizing Bible Films Endorses 'Risen'

Risen - Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton - still 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of CTMG

Faith Driven Consumer gained notoriety with a controversial poll criticizing 'Noah' and by stirring up Christians to defend 'Duck Dynasty.'

The Christian advocacy group that made such a stink over Noah and Exodus, telling millions of fans on its email list to avoid them, has finally found an original Bible-based film from a major studio that it likes: Risen, from Sony Picture's Affirm Films and Columbia Pictures.

"Risen is, at long last, the movie we've all been waiting for," said Chris Stone of Faith Driven Consumer, the firm that gave Paramount fits when it got so much attention for using a controversial poll to slam Noah two years ago, then drew nearly as much attention when it disparaged Fox's Exodus eight months later. The group also is notorious for stirring up Christians to defend Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson after he criticized homosexuality.

Faith Driven Consumer reviews films based on entertainment value and how "faith-friendly" they are, and Risen scored 4.5 stars, as many as it gave The Passion of the Christ, which it just recently reviewed because the group didn't exist when that film was released in 2004.

In its review of Risen, the group calls the movie "a who-dunnit? crime detective story" about Romans investigating the claim that Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion. "While much of the story line in Risen is extra-biblical, it is nevertheless plausible and holds close to the biblical narrative in a creative and engaging way," according to the review.

That's a far cry from what the group said about Noah ("muddled in commentary about human depravity") and Exodus ("dull and plodding pacing and a highly revisionist portrayal of God.").

Faith Driven Consumer says it serves 41 million Christians who spend $2 trillion annually, and that its recommendations reach more than 10 million people via its emails, website and other means.

Besides advocacy, the group does marketing for hire, such as when it promoted a special faith-based DVD version of Universal's Unbroken, but a spokesman said it has not been hired to promote Risen, which stars Joseph Fiennes and opens Friday.

Sony, which is heavily promoting the film on Christian and conservative talk radio, didn't respond to a request for comment.