William de Baskerville and his young acolyte Adso are visiting a Benedictine abbey in 1327 to take part in a conference when a mysterious death of one of the monks occurs. William is asked to investigate and while doing so further deaths occur resulting in a visit from a reprentative of the inquisition. The inquisitor extracts confessions under torture from two monks and a feral girl who visits the monastory providing the monks with sexual favours in return for food. William knows the accusations are false, but can he find the real culprit before they are burnt at the stake.
The abbey on an Italian hillside is striking. William and Adso examine the dead who are found in alarmingly different situations, one has supposedly thrown himself from a window, another is found in a vat of pig’s blood. The two creep about in the abbey, finding secret passages to a hidden library to which they have been refused access. The girl also hides in the dark and there is a very steamy sex scene, with male and female nudity. The inquisition investigates and there is a trial with some pomp. People are burnt and much of the abbey catches fire.
While the plot is just a bit confusing, the presentation is masterful so every moment is worth watching. Three quarters of the limited number of critics who watched this liked it, and Sean Connery won Best Actor awards from many organisations including the BAFTAs. It is a bit surreal and seems to echo some of Ken Russell’s work, so if that sort of thing appeals, don’t miss it.
|Duration||2h 10m||Rating (UK)||18|
|Source of story||A 1980 novel of the same name by Umberto Eco (who did not like the film all that much)|
|Writers/Script||Andrew Birkin, Gerard Brach, Howard Franklin, Alain Godard|
|Starring||Sean Connery, Christian Slater, William Hickey, Valentina Vargas, Ron Perlman, F. Murray Abraham,|
|Additional Info||The set, constructed on a hillside outside Rome, was the largest in Europe after the one built for Cleopatra.|