There Be Dragons

(2011)

Genres: Biography, Drama

Roger's Office: There Be Dragons

Transcript for Roger's Office: There Be Dragons

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Now it’s time to stop by Roger’s Office for his review of Roland Joffe's epic drama THERE BE DRAGONS.

ROGER EBERT:
 "There be Dragons" is an epic set in the years leading to the Spanish Civil War. It centers on the Saint Josemaria Escriva, canonized only in 2002. This is Bill Curtis speaking for Roger Ebert. Josemaria founded the Catholic order known as Opus Dei, which unfortunately many people have learned of only through the Da Vinci Code. The order is secretive and controversial, but Josemarie is a straightforward idealist.



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That's Charlie Cox as Josemarie, who believes all men and women, whether or not ordained, should commit themselves to opus dei, which is Latin for the Word of God. The story is told in a flashback from the present day, where a journalist played by Dougray Scott learns that his own father went to the seminary with Josemarie.



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His father, played young and old by Wes Bentley, was a childhood friend of Josemarie, but in the Civil War he fought for the communists, who were the elected government, against the fascists of Franco.



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Another major character is a communist firebrand
played by Rodrigo Santoro.




"There be Dragons" has the scope and beauty of earlier films by the same director, like "The Killing Fields" and "The Mission." But the flashback structure is confusing and unnecessary. We don’t need a present-day hook to get into this story, and a straightforward biopic about Josemarie might have been a lot more effective. The film is great-looking but muddled. Thumbs down.


CHRISTY:
Thank you so much for that Roger.