It’s murder—or murders—in a Benedictine abbey in 1327. But as luck—and clever writing—would have it, nonconformist, modern-thinking monk William of Baskerville (Sean Connery) is on hand, and it just so happens that he’s something of a detective, too. So with his faithful sidekick Adso of Melk (Christian Slater), William sets out to find “whodunit” in Jean-Jacques Annaud’s The Name of the Rose (1986), the film adaptation of the highly regarded Umberto Eco novel. What should have been a clever mystery thriller—with somewhat pretentious overtones—is transformed by Annaud into one of his typically murky, underlit movies. I’m not sure it ever could have been a really great movie, but it undoubtedly could have been better in someone else’s hands. Even so, it is watchable (when you can see it) and is certainly better than the director’s previous movie, Quest for Fire (1981).
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