Friday, March 4, 2011

The Holy Thief Movie Review

the holy thief
starring: derek jacobi, anthony green, benedict sandiford, and louise delamere

watched for: page to screen challenge

*may contain spoilers*

I know that I just said in my last movie review that I'm an advocate for people cutting movies based on books a break sometimes, but again I'm going to have to be a complainer for this movie. I've seen all of the Brother Cadfael episodes that were broadcast on "Mystery." In fact, I'd seen them all multiple times long before I ever started reading the series. But this is one of the few I've only rarely seen. I assumed that was simply due to Sean Pertwee not playing Hugh Berringar (because really, what's the point of watching if someone else is playing Hugh?), but after revisiting the movie for this challenge, I've decided there are two major problems, each containing LOTS of reasons to stay away. This movie installment is all kinds of terrible.

Problem One: Plot. TOTALLY, TOTALLY DIFFERENT! There's a somewhat different mystery (Daalny's been kidnapped, what?) and a completely different murderer and motive. Yes, I did feel like the motive in the book was a little weak and so I assume the filmmakers agreed which led to the change, and that I could totally get on board with, except what they changed it to made no sense to me. And became historically inaccurate.

Problem Two: Characters. Just about every character in the film is a major distortion of their print counterparts. In the book, Tutillo is mischievous and a bit of a rogue. You honestly feel there's a possibility he was the killer. In the movie he's nothing more than a wet blanket. Prior Herluin, though he's obviously in the wrong regarding St. Winifred and is a bit fanatically devout, is not nearly the ridiculous demonic caricature that's portrayed on screen. And Beaumont goes from being someone who's questionable and complex to a cruel and creepy creature. Even the regular characters are completely distorted. Hugh Berringar, Cadfael's best friend who's usually so fair minded and level headed and in basically ever way Cadfael's equal, is now an ass who inexplicably believes in ridiculous things such as dunk tests (where if you sink in water you're guilty) and cares less for justice and more for easy fixes. And saddest of all was Cadfael himself. I truely think Derej Jacobi IS Cadfael, but this episode had him picking fights and being snotty and cruel towards everyone and it was just horrible.

I really do mostly love these movies (especially One Corpse Too Many and The Sanctuary Sparrow) but this is the one to skip.

2/5 Read my review of the original book here.