There is something about this movie and I can’t quite put my finger on it. On paper it seems to tick all the right boxes, murder mystery, period drama, Sean Connery as the lead and a great supporting cast (including a very young Christian Slater. The story itself is quite interesting. Great artistic backdrop and good makeup and costume designs. Yet there is just something missing.
I didn’t find this film particularly interesting. Part of the problem may have been that it automatically started playing in France, which confused me as first because I didn’t think Christian Slater or Sean Connery would do a French film. It’s also a very good dubbed copy so it took me a little while to notice that it was dubbed. So I restarted the film.
I took to google to try and read other people’s reviews to see why I didn’t quite like it and I think Umberto Eco, the author of the book, summed it up really well in 2011. He said that his novel was ‘a club sandwich, with turkey, salami, tomato, cheese, lettuce. And the movie is obliged to choose only the lettuce or the cheese, eliminating everything else – the theological side, the political side.’ I think this sums up the entire film quite nicely. In trying to produce a film from the book there are always going to have to be elements of the book lost and trimmed down in order to make a film. In this case, I think the film has sacrificed many key components and sadly it lacks enough substance or meat to use Eco’s analogy. I also think that another disadvantage of it is it is about a Monk. Connery basically plays a Sherlock Holmes in Monk form. I think had it really been Sherlock Holmes, there is something sexier about Sherlock – take Jonny Lee Miller or Benedict Cumberbatch. I just don’t think you get the same appeal as the lead character is a Monk.