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The Name of the Rose

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Italy, France, West Germany · 1986
Rated R · 2h 10m
Director Jean-Jacques Annaud
Starring Sean Connery, F. Murray Abraham, Christian Slater, Helmut Qualtinger
Genre Drama

At an abbey in 14th-century Italy, a monk is dead. Well-regarded Franciscan monk William of Baskerville begins investigating the mysterious murder with the help of his young novice. But fear rises in the abbey as monks continue to lose their lives with no culprit in sight.

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What are critics saying?


The Associated Press by

Whether these Hollywood touches will make the film appealing to the Rambo crowd is doubtful. By all means, read the book first. [24 Sept 1986]


Entertainment Weekly by Chris Nashawaty

The film’s packed with messages in invisible ink, secret staircases, and corpses in cauldrons of pig’s blood. And since ? Connery’s bald as a cue ball, that means no distracting Hanksian haircuts!


Newsweek by David Ansen

The Name of the Rose spins a whopping good tale, a medieval murder mystery that only those with seriously damaged attention spans will find hard to enjoy. [29 Sept 1986, p.63]


Chicago Reader by Pat Graham

You want misery? he gives you misery—dark, drear, suppurating medieval oppressiveness; monotony? he gives you that too, lots and lots of monotony; subhuman grotesquerie and primitive superstition? not to worry: this guy didn't direct Quest for Fire for nothing.


Washington Post by Paul Attanasio

If the style of the film matches the story, that doesn't make it any easier to look at -- it's just too bleak, and in the end, you'd rather see "Ivanhoe." Annaud never finds the right rhythm for the movie, and it's sluggishly paced, even as palimpsests go.


Los Angeles Times by Sheila Benson

Yes, it is splendid that anyone would take on so formidable a project as Eco’s 500-page chambered nautilus of a novel. Yes, this certainly feels like a 14th-Century Italian abbey, bleak, drafty and forbidding. Yes, it looks like it too--the 14th-Century as cast by Federico Fellini, every face a grotesque. But no, sad to say, it isn’t a perfectly marvelous film.


The New York Times by Vincent Canby

The movie is full of the kind of atmosphere that can be created by elaborate sets, dim lighting and misty landscapes, though it has no singular character or dominant mood.

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