As a student of theology I am always drawn to movies like this.
However, I am often left disappointed, and somewhat frustrated. This
one is no exception but overall it is definitely worth a watch. As a
movie it is a good yarn with a story line that moves along quite
nicely. As far as performances go they are very strong. Tom Holland is
a great young actor who is more than up to his role. He walks the line
of young naive man faced with difficult theological choices and as such
earns the viewer's sympathy and admiration. I am a fan of Jon Bernthal
ever since his appearance in The Walking Dead and will watch anything
with him in it. He carries off the role of mute with a commanding and
menacing presence. A task not easy to accomplish with very limited
dialogue. Richard Armitage also does a fine job Although I cannot
comment on the accuracy of his French accent :). Stanley Weber, John
Lynch and the whole supporting cast are all very capable and
believable. The director Brendan Muldowney does a fine job and I will
watch with interest for his future work. I also really like the use of
many languages which always adds an interesting ingredient to any
If I were to sum this story up I would in the following: "A story of faith and ambition and how one can be usurped by the other."
As a story about a relic and what it inspires, it is a fine one. The power of faith is a fascinating aspect of humanity. We all need to believe in something whether it is the big bang theory or creationism. Faith, if strong enough, can motivate us to wondrous achievements or diabolical destruction. Powerful faith and the symbols of it also attract the ambitious. Ambition is also in us all and its draw is impossible to deny. When faith meets ambition a battle is imminent. This story is nuanced and faceted with elements such as loyalty, betrayal, friendship and revenge but which all flow from the primary motivators: faith and ambition. For the average viewer it may be too much so and as such the attention to detail may be lost. However, that does not take away from the performances which are very strong, the story which is engrossing and the cinematography which is magnificent. I love to see the beautiful Irish landscape portrayed on the big screen.
My only caveat was the ending. I found it unsatisfying. I will say no more than it lacked any positive conclusion. The banality of the human struggle. We live, we struggle and we die. HEY: They don't all die in the end. I am not saying that in case you think I just spoiled the ending. Well they don't but I found it just rang too much of the initial cynicism of Ecclesiastics: Vanity of vanities; all is vanity. However, even the writer of Ecclesiastes realised that there are things bigger than ourselves and there is purpose to it all that only God knows. So we trust in God and do the best we can. It could be argued that this message was in the movie but I did not find it apparent in the ending. There were certainly elements displayed, particularly when they follow the bell in the bog. However, it just seemed to unravel at the end. I am an optimist and I like happy endings, especially in the movies I watch. Failing that I settle for resolution. I got neither. I watch movies to be entertained, not to be depressed or frustrated. If I want that i just go out my front door. Thank you very much.
Having said all that I realise it is only a movie and as such it a right good one. Overall, a recommended watch.
Adventure / Drama
Adventure / Drama
Ireland, 1209. An island on the edge of the world. A small group of monks begin a reluctant pilgrimage across an island torn between centuries of tribal warfare and the growing power of Norman invaders. Escorting their monastery's holiest relic to Rome, the monks' progress is seen through the eyes of a pious young novice and a mute lay-brother with a violent past. As the true material, political and religious significance of the bejeweled relic becomes dangerously apparent, their path to the east coast becomes increasingly fraught with danger. The monks belatedly realize that in this wild land of ancient superstitions, the faith that binds them together may ultimately lead to their destruction.
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