The Name of the Rose

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Year Released: 1986
Rating: 2.0

Franciscan Detective William of Baskerville (Sean Connery) conducts brief interviews with an abbey of hideous men to solve the puzzling murders taking place there and their connection to a mysterious Greek book; meanwhile, Inquisitor Bernardo Gui (F. Murray Abraham) - William's foil - shows up at the worst possible time to burn heretics at the stake (those guys: you never expect them). In the defense of Annaud and his screenwriters (all four of them - a troubling sign), Umberto Eco's novel does not lend itself to an easy adaptation, and the writers take too many short-cuts and have difficulty taking Eco's playful, intellectual side and turning it into viable, 'understandable' cinema (which explains why there's so much exposition). It trudges forth rather warily and the confrontation between the rational and inquisitive (Connery) and the irrational and closed-minded (Abraham, et. al.) doesn't quite have much punch, though the consistently grotesque appearance - it's no surprise that the cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli and production designer Dante Ferretti worked with Pasolini - does create an indelible air of dread and filth.