June 6th: Monky Business


123. The Name of the Rose (Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1986)

Sean Connery gave his flagging career a shot in the arm with his performance as Franciscan monk and man of reason William of Baskerville, investigating a series of grisly deaths at a remote abbey. The murder mystery takes place against a tableau of ugly and deformed characters where only the young and unsullied retain their beauty. There’s plenty to enjoy in this, Connery enjoying his role as a proto-Sherlock Holmes, a grotesque parlour of characters to suspect and several sub-plots of interest including an interesting ideological struggle between the Franciscan monks and the envoy from Rome. The film is laced with period details, as I understand Umberto Eco’s novel is and it provides an exciting glimpse at what might have been. Brilliantly, Connery’s accent remains steadfastly Scottish throughout.