DVD Review of “There Be Dragons”

by on December 27th, 2010
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Director Roland Joffe’s look into the Spanish Civil war during the 1920’s in the film There Be Dragons is an interesting historical account of the beginning of the Opus Dei founder and canonized saint, Josemaria Escrivia.

The story is told by a journalist in the 1980’s whose estranged father grew up in the same small town as Escrivia (Charlie Cox). The writer, after not speaking to his bedridden father for nearly eight years, attempts to make contact with him in order to find out what he may have known about Escrivia. Initially unresponsive, the old man releases a shocking account of his personal relationship with Escrivia to his son in a written document.

Classic Hollywood cinematic beauty and horror unfold as the relationship of two young boys dealing with the effects of the civil war come to light. Both of boys join the clergy, but one of them, Manolo (Wes Bentley), becomes disillusioned after his father is attacked in a socialist uprising at their family owned factory and he abandons the church to join the militia. The other boy, Josemaria, goes on to become a priest and eventually the leader of Opus Dei. (Opus Dei is the sect of the Catholic Church that believes in self-flagellation.)

The movie is a little hard to follow in the beginning because both of the boys look the same and it is hard to tell who is who. Eventually as they grow up, distinctions can be made and movie takes a different flow. As far as the Spanish Civil War goes, you have the Communist on one side, and the Fascist on the other. Who is right, and who is wrong?

This was a highly underrated film by the media; but then again who wants to see an intelligent movie where you might actually learn something. Wouldn’t the Hangover 2 be much better? Great flick; go rent it.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Self Whippings.

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