Monday, November 14, 2011


CAST: Charlie CoxWes BentleyDougray ScottUnax Ugalde,Olga KurylenkoPablo LapadulaGolshifteh FarahaniRusty LemorandeAna TorrentAlfonso Bassave; DIRECTOR: Roland Joffé; WRITER: Roland Joffé; GENRE: Drama;
RUNNING TIME: 117 minutes

Technical Assessment:  3.5
Moral Assessment:  3.5
Cinema Rating: For viewers 14 years old and above

There be dragons is the story of London-based investigative journalist Robert Torres (Dougray Scott), who visits Spain to research a book about Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox), the controversial founder of Opus Dei. But, Robert hits a wall, both professionally and personally, when his most promising source—his own father, Manolo Torres (Wes Bentley)—turns out to be his least cooperative one. Robert begins to unearth his father’s toxic secrets when he learns that Manolo was not only born in the same Spanish town as Josemaría, but that they were childhood friends and attended the same seminary. The two men take radically different paths in life, with Josemaría dedicating his life to his faith while Manolo is swept into the brutal and tumultuous Spanish Civil War.  Manolo descends into a dangerous and jealous obsession when the beautiful Hungarian revolutionary Ildiko (Olga Kurylenko) doesn’t return his affections and instead gives herself to the courageous military leader, Oriol (Rodrigo Santoro).  As Robert continues to unearth the secrets of Josemaría’s life and Manolo’s mysterious anger, their overlapping journeys are revealed with the truths and sorrows of their past choices, which compels Manolo to confront his own secret with one last opportunity of forgiveness.
With such a star-studded cast and crew, there is no reason There be dragons cannot pull off a memorable film.  It is written and directed by two-time Academy Award-nominee Roland Joffé (The Mission, The Killing Fields, City of Joy) and stars Charlie Cox (Stardust, Casanova), Wes Bentley (American Beauty, Ghost Rider), Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, Max Payne), Emmy Award-winning actor Derek Jacobi (Gladiator, The Golden Compass), Dougray Scott (Mission Impossible II, Ever After) and Rodrigo Santoro (300, Che).  Its art director is Academy Award-winner Eugenio Zanetti (Restoration, What Dreams May Come), its costume designer is Academy Award®-winner Yvonne Blake (What Dreams May Come), and its makeup designer is Academy Award-winner Michele Burke (Quest for Fire, Dracula).  It is superbly edited by no less than Academy Award-nominee Richard Nord (The Fugitive), and photo-directed by Gabriel Beristain (Caravaggio).  Whew!
In case you are wondering if this is another kung fu movie, take heart.   The title There be dragons is borrowed from the words supposedly found on medieval maps indicating unexplored territory, Hic sunt dracones, which refers to the experiences in life which cause people to suffer and to react in different ways.  Only by acknowledging and dealing with those “dragons”, director Joffé suggests, can we escape the cycle of vengeance and dehumanization which so marked the twentieth century and still marks today’s world.  Says Joffé: “I think that’s what Josemaría was teaching, again and again, to people going through anguishing experiences: to connect to the humanity not only of those who are suffering but also of those who are causing them to suffer.  But just in case the mention of “Josemaria Escriva” scares you away, know that this is not a movie to proselytize its audience.  It is a polished work of art, a professionally crafted epic tale of revolutionaries and saints in a time of civil war; a story of love and heroism amid jealousy, hatred and violence; and a heartbreaking drama about the power of forgiveness to break the chains of the past.