The Name of the Rose

"OK"

The Name of the Rose Review


Franciscan and Benedictine monks are dispatched to a remote monastery to resolve a dispute over doctrine in The Name of the Rose. When William of Baskerville (Sean Connery) and his novice Adso (a very young Christian Slater) arrive, they find the discussions have been stalled by the death of a young, talented scribe. The resident monks are all atwitter, wringing their hands and worrying that the murder is a sign of the apocalypse. Their fervor reaches a fever pitch as more of their brethren begin to turn up dead, describing some choice passages of Revelations. So William fires up his logic, ceaselessly name checks Aristotle and begins to piece together a mystery that involves secret secular knowledge, a labyrinthine library, and a struggle between wild religious superstition and cold reason.

Based on Umberto Eco's dense and demanding bestseller, The Name of the Rose, is basically a love letter to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Unfortunately, the film version never passes up an opportunity to remind us of that fact.

There is some real detective work going on, and overall it's fun to watch the whodunit at the core of film unfold. But we get a deerstalker full of cheap deductions and observations along the way, laying a thin coating of crap over what is otherwise an effective murder mystery. Director Jean-Jacques Annaud and his staff of writers are too interested in intertextual cleverness to allow the audience to do the some simple sleuthing of its own. Is it too much to ask the audience to connect William of Baskerville with the Sherlock Holmes story that shares his name? Do we really need the awkward "It's elementary," delivered with a veritable wink? William even uses his powers of deduction to solve the mysterious location of the bathroom. Seriously.

Annaud does a great job, however, conjuring up a godforsaken medieval monastery that is about a appealing as the black plague. And that's the point. We get a slaughterhouse with its steaming buckets of blood and fleshy pig entrails. How about a sluice gate garbage disposal system that doubles as dinner bell for local inhabitants? Foreboding stone buildings set atop misty mountain peaks? Check. The supporting roles are dressed up much the same, presumably by Hieronymus Bosch's casting director. Blind monks watch wits with raving religious lunatics, while in the background a sweaty, bald cleric punishes his flesh with a cat-o'-nine-tails. But the standout here is heretical hunchback Salvatore (Ron Perlman), whose unintelligible pan-linguistic babbling makes him an easy scapegoat when the Inquisition unexpectedly comes calling.

But the window dressing is not enough to buoy the principle acting. Connery looks like he's having fun throughout, but he's too cavalier to be convincing as a 14th century monk. When Slater's face isn't over-expressing fear and confusion, it settles into a deer-in-the-headlights torpor. And the brief appearance of F. Murray Abraham as Inquisitor Bernardo Gui is limited to fiery glaring and grand proclamations.

The Name of the Rose has the insight to use the setting and practices of the early Church for creepy effect, but treats the audience too much like Dr. Watson.

Aka Der Name der Rose.



The Name of the Rose

Facts and Figures

Run time: 130 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 24th September 1986

Box Office Worldwide: $77.2M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: Nelson Entertainment

Production compaines: Constantin Film, Cristaldifilm S.r.l., Les Films Ariane, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as William of Baskerville, as Adso of Melk, Helmut Qualtinger as Remigio de Varagine, as Severinus, Feodor Chaliapin Jr. as Jorge de Burgos, Valentina Vargas as The Girl, as Salvatore, Lucien Bodard as Cardinal Bertrand, F. Murray Abraham as Bernardo Gui, Dwight Weist as Adso as Old Man (voice), as The Abbot, Volker Prechtel as Malachias, Lars Bodin-Jorgensen as Adelmo, Urs Althaus as Venantius, Michael Habeck as Berengar

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.