Title: There Be Dragons
Directed by: Roland Joffe
Starring: Charlie Cox, Wes Bentley, Geraldine Chaplin and Dougray Scott
Running time: 122 minutes, Rated PG-13, Available on Blu-ray
An investigative journalist pays a visit to Spain to research Josemaria Escriva, the Roman Catholic saint and founder of the controversial Catholic group Opus Dei. He discovers that his own estranged father Manolo, grew up with Josemaria, yet they both took seperate paths – Josemaria became a priest, and Manolo became a nationalist fighter in the Spanish Civil War of the 1930’s.
Okay I’ll start off by saying this film has got to be one of the most misleading titles next to Naked Lunch, and I don’t even see how it applies to the actual definition. The fictional character Manolo was poorly developed and ineffective; why Joffe felt this antagonist was necessary is beyond me. I could’ve followed the story better if it were just about the priest Escriva; he was a real man who survived tumultuous times, when people would kill priests on sight. Why complicate his story with a fictional jerk character that really had nothing to do with the priest and Opus Dei? There’s even an unrequited love story (sort of) that really goes nowhere; I mean the character is fictional, so who cares?
Here’s a thought, if you are making a movie about Spaniards, don’t cast white people with horrible accents. There’s a gangload of actors out there, I’m sure you can find a few to fill the parts. Most of the actors spoke in a raspy voice to make the accent more convincing, but it didn’t work. I will say that Geraldine Chaplin’s accent was the most believable out of all the non-Spanish actors; although to her credit, she is fluent in Spanish and has been doing accents the longest.
The make-up effects were beyond crap. Wes Bentley in old man make-up looked like a reject from Dick Tracy.
The special features include a testimonial by actor Wes Bentley and deleted scenes. According to Wes Bentley, he saw the dark side of himself in the character Manolo, and through the character he was able to give up his destructive lifestyle and become sober. At least something positive came out of this film.
In short, There Be Dragons was tedious, hard to follow and long. If you’re a Roland Joffe fan, I still wouldn’t recommend this film. In my opinion, I feel he peaked at The Mission and The Killing Fields.
Total Rating: F
Reviewed by: JM Willis