It's the work of the Devil. That's what some say when a bizarre series of deaths strikes a 14th-century monastery. Others find links between the deaths and the book of Revelation. But Brother William of Baskerville thinks otherwise. He intends to find a murderer by using fact and reason - the tools of heresy. Best Actor British Academy Award winner Sean Connery is wily William in this compelling adaptation of Umberto Eco's bestseller. Christian Slater plays Adso, aide to the sleuthing cleric and a youth on the verge of sexual and intellectual awakening. F. Murray Abraham is arrogance incarnate as the Inquisitor. Director Jean-Jacques Annaud filmed this moody mystery at an actual 12th-century monastery where hooded faces loom like gargoyles.
Medieval whodunnit - complex, intense and immensely satisfying
- The Name of the Rose review by RP
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It is the year 1327 and Franciscan monk William of Baskerville (Sean Connery) accompanied by novice monk Adso of Melk (a very young Christian Slater) arrive at a remote abbey to attend an ecclesiastical debate between Dominican and Franciscan monks as to whether the Church should abandon all wealth. So far, so dull... But William of Baskerville is a bit of a medieval Sherlock Holmes and is able to solve the mystery of a recent death – but there are further deaths, and the monks fear some demonic cause while William looks for a more down-to-earth explanation. The monks call in an Inquisitor who soon finds three suspects and pronounces them guilty. But William is investigating an entirely different track and discovers that all of the victims have died of poisoning after reading a rare and forbidden book hidden in the Escher-like labyrinth of the Abbey library. It sounds complex - and it is - but it is an immensely satisfying film, with an excellent story (much simplified from Umberto Eco's novel), excellent acting, an excellent portrayal of medieval life and the class distinction between rich and poor, some nice gory bits and even a surprisingly explicit sex scene. The atmosphere is dark and intense, the locations, costumes and photography really well done. Great stuff. This is one of my favourite films, and certainly my favourite Sean Connery film. 5/5 stars – highly recommended.