Thursday, 30 January 2020

Movie review: Assassin’s Creed, dir Justin Kurzel (2016)

This is a very good movie even though the history it uses to spin the yarn is shaky at best. Righteous gamer bros – the film was adapted from a video game – might be advised to rely on other sources for their facts.

In a nutshell the story driving this oddball action flic is intriguing and the critical and financial reception the movie received is strange; I think it should have done much better than it did. It demonstrates considerable imagination but this might be its weakness: as it doesn’t chime with conventional stories the grounding narrative was possibly a bit too much for people to get their heads around.

The movie is a kind of amalgam between ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Kill Bill’ and is typical of thrillers in that it relies on technology to furnish many of the plot devices the narrative relies on to move forward. Much of the movie is shot in a building (or buildings) that is supposed to represent a high-tech research facility in Spain, and the use of a modern-day supranational organisation (the Knights Templar) to provide dramatic momentum is not unusual; many films of this kind need a kind of main force embodied in such an organisation to provide dramatic form for their narratives.

In the film, the hero (named Cal Lynch) is played by Michael Fassbender as is the historical figure of Aguilar whose experience he lives through the agency of a machine called the Animus. He does a good job with a difficult script; the story is hard to follow and I won’t go into details here. Suffice to say that it hinges on securing possession of the “Apple of Eden”, which the Templars crave in order to abolish violence and to maintain order, so the film is a classic outsider’s take, much in the same way that the story of the Illuminati provides some people with a way to find meaning in their lives. Anti-Semites drink at the same pool.

The beauty of this film is the way it melds history and technology. I haven’t seen this kind of solution to the problem of adding drama to a fantasy film since 2009’s ‘Avatar’, though ‘Assassin’s Creed’ is without doubt the superior product. I recommend this movie for people who like action and who like scifi. For those, like me, who are interested in foreign cultures and in history, unique cognitive reverberations are made available watching this film. Great fun; seen on Netflix.

No comments: