The Name of the Rose

1986

Action / Crime / Drama / History / Mystery / Thriller

157
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 76%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 85%
IMDb Rating 7.8 10 91386

Synopsis


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September 26, 2011 at 08:05 PM

Cast

Sean Connery as William of Baskerville
Ron Perlman as Salvatore
Christian Slater as Adso of Melk
F. Murray Abraham as Bernardo Gui
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
695.73 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 10 min
P/S 2 / 69
1.95 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 10 min
P/S 1 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by classicalsteve 10 / 10

Jean-Jacques Annaud's Accurate Depiction of the Late Middle Ages a Must-See for Medievalists

A lot of our perception of the Middle Ages comes from previous Hollywood movies, such as Robin Hood and Excalibur. In reality, Europe of the Middle Ages was dark, damp, and dirty, there was no middle-class, and the clergy and the nobility ran society like dictators. Consideration of personal hygiene was almost non-existent, medical practices were atrocious, and the search for knowledge was discouraged by the church. Aside from the great Gothic cathedrals, much of the architecture was comprised of either large stone buildings or small shacks for the peasantry. And religious fanaticism raged all over Christendom. If you weren't fearing for your life in the hereafter because of sin, you might be worried that the church would haul you in on charges of heresy. But there was one small consolation: it was the period when some of the most beautiful books ever created first appeared by the artistic hands of monks in scriptoriums. This is the world of "The Name of the Rose", the film adaption of the novel by Umberto Eco.

The story concerns several murders that take place in a medieval monastery circa 1327. But this monastery is special (although essentially fictional): it contains one of the greatest and most extensive libraries in all of Medieval Europe. Not all aspects of the Middle Ages were gloom and doom. The age produced some of the most extravagantly beautiful hand-written books western society has ever seen. The large ornamented calligraphy was adorned by beautiful illuminations in the margins, artwork that surrounded the text. (The art of hand illumination has been subsequently lost to modern printing innovations.)

William of Baskerville (Sean Connery), a Franciscan monk, and his pupil Adso (Christian Slater) arrive at this Benedictine monastery hidden in the snow-clad mountains presumably near the border of Italy and modern-day Switzerland. At this time, the Franciscans were a relatively new monastic order, their order barely 100 years old, as compared to the Benedictines that by this time had boasted an 800-year history. William and Adso learn about the death of one of the monastery's best illuminators who worked in the monastery's scriptorium. The scriptorium was the area of a medieval monastery in which monks copied, illuminated and illustrated books. The story becomes a narrative about medieval books, classical writings, and the power of thought--medieval thought versus classical (aka Ancient Greek) sensibilities. As William of Baskerville (so-named referencing Sherlock Holmes) begins to piece together the puzzle, he realizes that the death has much to do with the library and its books, and possibly one book in particular.

Although this is a loose adaption of the book, the film "The Name of the Rose" is one of the best depictions of the Middle Ages. Unlike most Hollywood offerings concerning the same period, the actors in "The Name of the Rose" were probably similar to the strange-looking and care-worn monks that habituated 14th-century monastic life. Most of these people (save the two Hollywood actors Sean Connery and Christian Slater) are gaunt and less unattractive people occupying large drafty buildings full of stench and grime. Their lives amounted to sleeping, eating, working, and worship. Leisure was not just avoided, it was largely unknown. Their only solace is the beautiful Gregorian Chant that echos through the Church Sanctuary during morning and evening services.

No one in this movie is particularly attractive, and there are even a character or two who will make you cringe. The cast, mostly made up of French, Italian, and American actors, is outstanding with a few notable standouts. Ron Perlman as Salvatore, a dim-witted hunchback who doesn't know whether he's speaking Latin, Italian or French is the absolute tour-de-force performance of the film. His portrayal is worth the price of admission alone. I didn't realize the actor was actually American until much later! Feodor Chaliapin as the venerable Jorge, an aging blind monk that does not let his age nor his blindness interfere with his expressing opinion gives a stalwart performance. Volker Prechtel as the stoic librarian and supervisor of the scriptorium; his character could give any modern-day spinster a run for her money. William Hickey as Ubertino of Casale, an exiled Franciscan who is strangely lovable despite his age and his dying teeth! And F. Murray Abraham (of Salieri fame in Amadeus) is also memorable as the historical figure Bernardo Gui, a true-to-life 14th-century inquisitor. You really believe you are walking in the 14th century among these people. But would you want to invite them for coffee?

This is an outstanding film, granted not exactly escapist and definitely not for the feint of heart. Simultaneously, this movie provides a window into the world of Western Europe 700 years ago, when democracy did not exist, people were stratified, religious fanaticism the norm, and the world was lit only by fire. A compelling time and a compelling subject. Personally I love to study Middle Ages and its history and culture. Would I ever want to live back then? Not on your life. I'll use movies and books instead like the Name of the Rose.

Reviewed by Tweetienator 8 / 10

Great Flick With Some Unnecessary Flaws

I read the book written by Umberto Eco three or four times over the years and it is still an outstanding masterpiece - an exquisite thinker, a sharp and witty writer and someone with a great expertise in history, philosophy, and theology - not many writers have such an immense background they can use to make such a fine piece of literature.

Like the book the movie directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud gives us a little glimpse into the life of people living in the Middle Ages. Sean Connery as William of Baskerville plays superb, Christian Slater as Adson of Melk is a rising star, and all the other actors play good to very good- a well-composed cast (not to mention Ron Perlman as a hunchbacked monk).

The movie really got a feel of authenticity. The only aspect I have to complain about are some of the changes done regarding the book - well, imo they are no improvement - especially the almost happy-ending regarding the rose named girl (in the book it is indicated that she would burn with the two monks in Avignon after trial) and as Bernardo Gui (the inquisitor) is a historical person - he did not die in real life (and in the book) like in the movie depicted. Eichinger (the producer or whoever is responsible for those changes) did imo regarding the ending of the movie too much sugar-coating for the audience. For those unnecessary but important changes, I got at least to distract one or two points. Anyway - still a magnificent movie.

Reviewed by DeuceWild_77 10 / 10

Masterpiece of the literary world became a master work of filmmaking !!

Adapting a book of more than 600 pages to the big screen wasn't a easy job, even with the collaboration of 4 screenwriters under the supervision of the 'artsy' french director, Jean-Jacques Annaud, fresh from the critical success of his previous work, "Quest for Fire" ('81) and even the author, the Italian novelist Umberto Eco, knew that, but he gave the approval and after 4 years of preparations, the production starts filming a palimpsest of his 1980 historical murder mystery debut novel.

"The Name of the Rose" is a well-crafted drama / mystery / 'whodunit' film, set in the Medieval Era and telling the story of a Franciscan Friar, William of Baskerville (Sean Connery), a wise middle-age man with great power of deduction and his young novice, Adso of Melk (Christian Slater) which arrive to a somber Benedictine Abbey in northern Italy, during the wintertime, to participate in a debate with Papal emissaries about the excess of wealth in the Church. The Abbey is covered in sorrow and fear because of the recent demise of a young attractive manuscript illuminator, in a deemed unnatural way, which prompted the Brothers to suspect that was the work of the Devil. The Abbot (Michael Lonsdale) asks William for help to solve the mystery and to calm the Abbey's population before his last resort of demanding the Holy Inquisition, led by the ruthless Bernardo Gui (F. Murray Abraham), to find the guilty using their own sadistic methods...

Eco's choice of naming his protagonist William of Baskerville was a clearly homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mystery novel, "The Hound of Baskervilles" featuring his most famous creation, Sherlock Holmes and his inseparable & dearest partner and future chronicler, Doctor John Watson, here personified by the young Adso which also serves as the narrator, telling us the terrifying events which occurred in the ancient Abbey, many years later. The name William is also believed to be based on the English Franciscan Friar, William of Ockham, a Scholastic Philosopher, well known for his significant works on logic, physics and theology. He even created a methodological principle called "Occam's razor".

Now, what more can be said about this sterling piece of art ? The direction is top notch as so are the high production values involved: the locations; the Art Direction, Set Decoration and Costume Design; the Makeup Department (where were the Oscar nominations ?), all together makes this movie experience looks and feels like we're in the Middle Age, it's probably one of the best films ever made depicting the life in the Dark Ages, the authenticity is astonishing !! The cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli is splendid, giving a visually eerie feeling and a realistic gloomy look at the secular Abbey, especially the sequences inside the labyrinthic library (amazingly designed in the Gothic architectural style by the Production Designer Dante Ferretti) that were masterfully shot. Last, but not the least, James Horner's haunting compositions embraces the viewer into the intricate mystery helping to establish the moody tone of the movie.

The cast is superb, kudos to the casting director and Annaud himself for selecting some of the most unforgettable and distinctive faces ever put on-screen. Sean Connery was tailor made for this kind of role, playing the open-minded William of Baskerville who can see the light of reason in a time of blind faith. After almost a decade into oblivion appearing in lesser known films as the romantic lead, the then 55 years old (but looked a bit older) ex-James Bond, convinced Annaud that he can do justice to William of Baskerville and he did and with that career decision, Connery re-invented his screen persona in the mid to late 80's, becoming, with major success, the Mentor of the protagonist for the rest of his career ("Highlander", "The Presidio", "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", "Family Business" and so on...). Christian Slater at 16 years old, have here is breakthrough role as Adso of Melk, participating in a way graphic sex scene with the 22 years old actress Valentina Vargas, who shocked the censors in America and UK, but as a French / Italian / German co-production, this seemed more common, natural and harmless there. F. Murray Abraham, in his first film after he won the Academy Award for performing Salieri in "Amadeus" ('84), is always 'machiavellian' and 'over-the-top' playing the antagonist, and Bernardo Gui, the head of the Holy Inquisition, fits him like a glove. Michael Lonsdale, Volker Prechtel, William Hickey, Elya Baskin and Helmut Qualtinger are all outstanding in their supporting roles, but the then 81 years old Feodor Chaliapin, Jr. as the blind Venerable Jorge de Burgos and the great character actor and forever typecast in this kind of monstrous roles, Ron Perlman as the hunchback Salvatore, both stole the movie every time they're on-screen. Perlman was, criminally, snubbed from an Academy Award nomination, probably he gave the best supporting performance of 1986.

The only complaint about this production is that the third act feels rushed to finish the movie and was edited in a way that breaks the unsettling pace established earlier, maybe with more half a hour the movie could have been even better and escalate to the top of the best 'whodunit' ever made.

In short, what Ron Howard did, exactly 20 years later, adapting the similar themed puzzling mystery, "The Da Vinci Code" with a routine & by-the-numbers direction and collecting all the accolades, Annaud did it first and better, giving us a truly memorable film, a triumph in craftsmanship, misunderstood when it was released (Roger Ebert gave it a lacklustre review), but re-appreciated and re-evaluated in more recent times and occupying nowadays the podium of one of the best films that came out of the 80's decade.

For fans of a great & thrilling detective story, out of the Hollywood's standards, who also makes the viewer think, this is a must-see film.

Highly recommended !!

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