In this adaptation of Umberto Eco’s celebrated novel, Franciscan friar Sean Connery investigates a series of bizarre murders in a monastery in the 14th century.
Aside from the rather unusual subject matter, this is a unique film in that it does not feature the usual starlets and pretty boy actors populating a glossy Hollywood version of history; it actually looks and feels like a working Medieval abbey. As such, these monks would win no beauty pageants! This serves to add to the already potent atmosphere and in one of his best roles, Sean Connery commands the screen as well as the able supporting cast, including the ever reliable Ron Perlman as the demented hunchback. The story explores the themes of religious intolerance and the climate of hysteria within which a reasonable-minded man of learning can find it impossible to function; “justice” is doled out by self-appointed prophets who dare not be opposed on pain of death, and blind faith and superstition replace logic and reason. Let’s face it, things haven’t changed much over the centuries.
Add some wonderfully literary and witty dialogue and fascinating historical insights and you have a film that works both as an excellent adaptation and a satisfying murder mystery.