The Name of the Rose 1986 ****

Umberto Eco’s novel about a group of medieval monks who find themselves picket off my a murderer in a remote abbey was by no-means an obvious conversion job for cinema; Jean Jacques Annaud’s 1986 version has to jettison some of the religious and philosophical ruminations while keeping to the bones of the plot. Sean Connery’s William of Baskerville and Christian Slater’s novice Adso arrive at the Eberbach abbey to initial suspicion, but prove to have the chops for an investigation that leads to the discovery of a book with the power to kill. Rival monks include Ron Perlman and Michael Lonsdale, and their lively performances keep this metaphysical who-dunnit going until the fiery climax. A flop in the US, The Name of The Rose found a big audience in Europe, and the labyrinthine plotting stands up well today.


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