The Name of the Rose (1986)

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William of Baskerville (Sean Connery) and his young apprentice Adso of Melk (Christian Slater) are called to an isolated abbey in the north of Italy, to investigate the mysterious death of a monk. William is greeted by the Abbot (Michael Lonsdale) and taken to the point where the body was said to have died. William investigates the death and attributes it to suicide. He is set to leave when another monk is found dead, however in circumstances which make it seem like foul play was involved.

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When the body of the victim is checked over, it shows that he has black finger tips and a black tongue. William becomes suspicious as he believes monks are being poisoned to protect a secret the abbey has kept for years. As the bodies begin to pile up, a group of inquisitor monks are called in to investigate claims of heresy, led by Bernado Gui (F. Murray Abraham). Bernado and William once worked together, but became enemies when Bernado tried to have William executed.

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William’s investigation takes him to the labyrinthine catacombs of the abbey, where all of the books are hidden. William believes that it’s man that is committing these killings, and not the work of the Devil as Bernado Gui would try to have others believe. However because William refuses to believe that it’s the work of the Devil, he too becomes a target of the inquisition, resulting in a race against time to save himself and others from being burned at the stake.

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I dig this movie. I love how bleak and desolate the landscape is, almost giving it a post-apocalyptic feel to the movie. Sean Connery is always worth watching in my opinion. He brings a real sense of intellect to the role, really drawing you into his world of somebody that really knows their shit. There are a lot of familiar faces on show here, even Ron Perlman who plays a mentally handicapped man living outside the abbey. Christian Slater is good enough in one of his early roles, although everyone pretty much plays second fiddle to Sean Connery who is just mesmerising. F. Murray Abraham is great as Bernado Gui, and really shows just how terrifying religion was back in the old days. Give it a watch.

4/5

JM

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Outland (1981)

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Outland is a sci-fi in appearance, but it doesn’t play like a typical sci-fi and is all the better for it. Outland is more of a western in the vein of ‘High Noon’ than any sci-fi released around the same time. It was made in 1980 and released in 1981. Back when practical effects were the norm and the film world was a brighter, more interesting place. The story involves Marshall William T. O’Neil (Sean Connery). Marshall O’Neil has been sent to a shit hole mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io. He’s been sent there as punishment because nobody will work with him as he’s too headstrong.

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When he first gets to Io he is greeted by the mining boss Sheppard (Peter Boyle). He is told by Sheppard that his boys work hard, so they like to play hard. Essentially asking O’Neil to turn a blind eye to any grief he might come across. O’Neil warns Sheppard that he won’t be intimidated or bossed and will do things his way, despite Sheppard warning O’Neil that he may make enemies if he does. After a miner apparently commits suicide, O’Neil is informed by the colony doctor, Dr. Lazarus (Frances Sternhagen) that the man may have been taking narcotics which led to his death. O’Neil finds out that Sheppard is running a drug ring and that the company don’t mind as it helps drive up the work rate.

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As O’Neil digs deeper and begins to cause trouble for Sheppard and his gang, assassins are hired to kill O’Neil and will arrive in 70hrs. As nobody will help O’Neil defend himself against the assassins, except Dr. Lazarus, O’Neil must do what he can if he intends to survive .

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I love this movie. I love everything about it. The set design is just amazing and evokes memories of Alien, the same too with the costume design. The script is great and Connery is fantastic as O’Neil. My only real gripe is in regards to O’Neil’s family. His son’s voice is dubbed over by another actor for what reason I don’t know. Thankfully his son isn’t in the movie for long, but grates when he is. The film is well worth watching. If you like your sci-fi movies gritty and well acted, then this is for you.

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The film is available on Blu Ray from Warner Bros. Fear not if you don’t have a multi-region Blu Ray player as Warner never region lock their Blu Ray’s. Happy days.

4/5

JM

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