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There Be Dragons (2011)

tomatometer

11

Average Rating: 4.1/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 16

No consensus yet.

audience

55

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 2,353

My Rating

Movie Info

Tells the story of London-based investigative journalist Robert Torres (Dougray Scott), who visits Spain to research a book about Josemaría Escrivá (Cox), the controversial founder of Opus Dei. But Robert hits a wall, both professionally and personally, when his most promising source-his own father, Manolo Torres (Bentley), turns out to be his least cooperative one. Robert begins to unearth his father's toxic secrets when he learns that Manolo was not only born in the same Spanish town as

PG-13,

Drama

Jan 10, 2012

$1.1M

Samuel Goldwyn Films - Official Site External Icon

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Cast

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May 6, 2011:
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All Critics (39) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (34) | DVD (2)

Joffe, working from his own script, presents the men's lives as evidence of difficult choices, but this pedantic movie is never fully invested in any of them.

May 7, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Comments (2)
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Few films about the Spanish Civil War have been any good -- Pan's Labyrinth being the big exception.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Joffé is out of depth when it comes to Escrivá's religious experiences. It's clear he wants the film to show how faith works within us, but he does it by resorting to the most hackneyed imagery.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Comment (1)
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Clunk, clunk, squish. That is the sound of the dead language in Roland Joffé's screenplay for "There Be Dragons" as it tramples his would-be epic of the Spanish Civil War into an indigestible pulp.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I like grandeur and richly nuanced storytelling. I also like lobster bisque. But I don't want to drink a gallon of it in a single sitting.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even actor's actor Derek Jacobi, as a Jewish factory owner, is wasted in this international muddle of a movie.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unsatisfying, lacking the epic feel it was aiming for, and paid-for image-burnishing for the controversial founder of Opus Dei.

January 15, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Yes, the film looks beautiful. But unfortunately is stumbles over itself too often to fully realize greatness.

February 6, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Despite its high-mindedness, an almost complete misfire...a lopsided film as well as a turgid, boring one.

June 8, 2011 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

...whitewashing the origins of the controversial Opus Dei movement, this lesson in unabashed embellishment will fail to excite any but the most starry-eyed Catholic.

May 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI) | Comments (3)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

I was looking forward to seeing Wes Bentley on-screen again..Alas, he apparently spent the last decade at the Acting with Your Eyebrows Drama School.

May 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Movies.com
Movies.com

A visually stunning, undeniably intriguing saga about a controversial Catholic saint. Overly earnest at times...but this is still one of the more genuinely spiritual contemporary films to hit the big screen.

May 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Dearest
Movie Dearest

Putting aside the many aesthetic problems with this overwrought, over-narrated, and overacted movie, the politics of There Be Dragons make very little sense.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Movies.com
Movies.com

Ponderous, inflated, overstated Spanish Civil War potboiler displays all of director Roland Joffé's worst tendencies to full disadvantage.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

There's an interesting story here, but Joffe never firmly wraps his arms around it.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

A movie doesn't need CGI dragons to be exciting. But it does need real characters and conflict -- it needs to be a real story. Here, that story always is just beyond our grasp.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Christianity Today
Christianity Today

It offers good production values, name performers and insights into the chaos of civil war. But it's too stiff, too cautious, too calculating to feel genuine.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Rarely has a film with so much melodrama been so unengaging.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington City Paper | Comment (1)
Washington City Paper

Even with its modern ambiguity, "There Be Dragons" feels stodgy.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Audience Reviews for There Be Dragons

This movie had great potential, but I think that it must have suffered from poor editing. Visually speaking, it was very good...but, that wasn't enough to help the storyline endearing.
February 27, 2013
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

In 1982, Roberto Torres(Dougray Scott) returns to his native Madrid to research a book about Josemaria Escriva(Charlie Cox). Luckily for Roberto, his father Manolo(Wes Bentley) still lives in the city. Unluckily for Roberto, they have not spoken in eight years. Regardless, Manolo sends him whatever relevant material he has, as he and Roberto were friends when they were growing up, even studying in the same seminary at one point.

Once upon a time, writer-director Roland Joffe had a flair for historical epics when he made sweeping and excellent timeless films such as "The Mission" and "The Killing Fields." Sadly, that was a long time ago and with the exception of neat cinematography(credit to Gabriel Beristain), especially with Manolo coming into focus in a mirror, there is not much to like in "There Be Dragons," as it serves mostly as just a banal distortion of history. For example, in reality, the Catholic Church was on the side of the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, so at least they were not totally persecuted as shown here.(For the record, if somebody is too good to be true, they most likely are.) That's not to mention a dueling lumbering narrative that does little to advance the movie's central themes of forgiveness. Remember, some times you do have to take a side.
March 12, 2013
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A great visual style, as you would expect from Roland Joffeâ(TM), but it ultimately lacks the narrative power of his better works, notably The Killing Fields. The production values and overall world building of civil war torn Spain was excellent, but the more modern storyline, to which the film often flashbacks to, was less convincing (especially the â~agedâ(TM) Wes Bentley), and often undermined the more compelling earlier story. I also felt the themes were a bit heavy handed, a symptom of an unpolished script, one that also features some stilted dialogue. Olga Kurlenko, for her part, was amazing, and was certainly the most compelling character of this historical epic. At the end, you have a lot of great set pieces and some good story elements, making it watchable, but certainly not without some problems.

3/5 Stars
February 18, 2012
Jeffrey Meyers

Super Reviewer

    1. Young Girl: God is a monster.
    – Submitted by Sara J (2 years ago)
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