There Be Dragons - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

There Be Dragons Reviews

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September 17, 2016
Excellent movie. Has a lot of relationship plits and sub plots all under the backdrop of civil war.
January 26, 2016
Oh, dear god, why, oh why do they still make movies with popular actors doing bad accents? It's like a a bad SNL sketch.
½ June 27, 2015
The story of Father Josemaria Escriva and the Opus Dei movement was an important development of the 20th Century, and "There Be Dragons" gives us a dramatized depiction of the group's struggle to survive during the Spanish Civil War. "There Be Dragons" is engrossing. The battle scenes are uneven, but some succeed in creating hellish images, The movie's theme of unconditional love & forgiveness gets muddled by uneven pacing in the final act of the story.
November 15, 2014
Interesting story about two boys growing up in different circumstances and the choices the make during the Spanish War
½ September 20, 2014
Story about Opus Dei's founder which advocates his work through a much incoherent parallel story of the crimes committed during the Spanish Civil War and the today's stormy relationship of a son and his father.

Most of the performing is pretty bad, maybe also empowered by the clear difficulties that many of the Spanish actors have to do so in English, their strong accent when speaking and the grandiloquent dialogues and monologues in the script.
June 1, 2014
A great big plodder, Joffe's quasi religious biopic-cum-war epic is unfocused and undercooked. Sure, we have an all star cast, solid production values and a moving score, but the attempt to balance these two sides just doesn't work. What does it say when the life of a religious icon, the main plot no less, is less interesting than the time and nation it's set in?
½ April 25, 2014
boring. boring. boring.
March 19, 2014
A Spanish journalist, Roberto Torres (Dougray Scott), is trying to mend his relation with his dying father, Manolo Torres (Wes Bentley), who took part in the Spanish Civil War. Roberto discovers through his investigations that his father was a close childhood friend of Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox), a candidate for sainthood, with whom he had a complicated relationship. Manolo became a soldier during the Spanish Civil War and became obsessed with a beautiful Hungarian revolutionary, Ildiko (Olga Kurylenko). She rejected him and gave herself to a brave militia leader named Oriol. Manolo became jealous and took a path of betrayal which he has suffered from his whole life. This event ultimately reveals the importance and timeless power of forgiveness for Manolo...

Roland Joffés "There Be Dragons" explores themes such as betrayal, forgiveness, friendship, and finding the meaning of life in everyday life during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. "Reconciliation matters" is the main take away message that Joffe expects from the viewers. Life, he said, is an opportunity to love: "It's a choice, and in making that decision you become free. You do not become free when you hate. The weird thing is when you really love, you feel it like a breath of freedom, you think 'Oh my God, I've chosen this, and it's beautiful'." He emphasized that Christianity is about love and the teaching of St. Josemaria "encourages a spiritual relationship with God in 'very simple things', in cooking a meal, being with one's family, or even having a fight." Joffé states that this is "a film about what it means to be a saint in this day and age." The title refers to its theme exploring the unknown territories of hatred, guilt, and forgiveness, said the producer Ignacio G. Sancha. "There be dragons" is a shorter version of the phrase "here there be dragons" from the Latin hic sunt dracones, an ancient way of denoting in maps a place where there is danger, or an unknown place, a place to be explored. Roland Joffé has given us the fantastic "The Mission" and the equally great "The Killing Fields", and therefore it pains me to see this overdramatised and theatrically overacted piece of film from the same man. With a great backdrop of the horrific Spanish Civil War, Joffé manages to transform "There Be Dragons" to an almost comiclike mish mash with sloppy direction and sloppy acting despite the fact that he obviously had a great budget. Sometimes you almost believe the movie has been dubbed as well... With an estimated budget of $36,000,000, during its opening weekend the film collected $705,537 at the US box office, compared to $1,251,124 in Spain, the film is considered a box office flop. Critics generally praised the film's production values but panned Joffé's screenplay and direction. I disliked this movie from scene one and nothing came to its rescue during the running time. I would love to see a proper historical movie in spanish focused on the Spanish Civil War.
½ March 9, 2014
Self congratulatory Catholic propaganda with a flagrant disregard for historical accuracy, balance, nuance, or decent writing. This is a shame as The Spanish Civil War is a setting rich with stories, but there has yet to be a similarly rich story about it (Pan's Labyrinth is more half-set just after it, and Land and Freedom is Ken Loach's typical 'Loach trumps history' affair). One would imagine that a film set during the most politicised war of the 20th century would manage to mention politics at some point, or even some of the main players, but There Be Dragons is content to drift along on a combination of tedious Christian 'forgiveness' and endless 'stirring' strings (both delivered with the subtlety of the Condor Legion over Guernica). Like so many other historical would-be epics, it's an opportunity missed, with a large enough budget and half decent cast wasted on a questionable character, a ridiculous premise and an appalling script. To be honest, I knew it wasn't going to be good, but I'm still furious it was THIS bad.
March 1, 2014
Insufferably long and worse, boring. I'm not a Joffe fan really, only watched it for Olga Kurylenko, who was good in her role. The acting is above average, but the story is not very interesting and crawls along at the pace of a slug. I didn't get a feel for these characters, and the Spanish Civil War made no sense at all to me.
½ February 15, 2014
Interesting story, but it struggles between weak actors/actresses and a soft script.
October 22, 2013
One of the most well written and inspirational movies of this time. The actors were superb and the message was clear. A Catholic slant with a message that was true for all. I give it a 9 out of 10 because of the redemptive qualities forgiveness provides but it lacked an important evangelical message "Forgiveness through the blood of Christ".
October 22, 2013
Pretty much irrelevant. Boring and completely unattatching.
September 21, 2013
This movie is a disgrace, especially from the director of Robert Bolt's "The Mission." The dialogue in this script is so cringingly bad, it's not even funny. The 11% rating from the critics is much too high.
½ August 16, 2013
Blockbuster 8/9/13
Liked this movie. Interesting story based on actual history. Fast paced and thrilling.
August 12, 2013
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.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ March 12, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
½ February 27, 2013
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 22, 2013
So heavy handed with its symbolism that you leave with a black eye.
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