11 February 2005 | Hairy_Lime
Central miscasting spoils a good film
Every so often, you can see a mediocre film, and get a hint of what the film could have been with just a few changes. This is one of them; it features several excellent actors - Ed Harris, Tim Roth, Pete Postlethwaite, Joss Ackland (sorry for misspellings!) - but one unforgivably bad casting decision: casting the absolutely charisma-deprived Christopher Lambert as the Priest. To believe in the film at all, the priest has to be seen as dangerously attractive to the people, a charismatic leader. Lambert cannot portray that. He is one of the worst actors around, and he kills this picture dead.
Two other major gripes about the film: there is a scene where the priest is lectured by his bishop and then sent to Rome - or not, since he never actually goes. What was that there for? To show that the Polish Church was in cahoots - or at least practiced accommodation - with the government? Fine. But at least, SEND HIM TO ROME. Otherwise you have a useless scene that detracts from the movie.
The other gripe: I suppose there is some screenwriter union rule that dictates that if you have a movie involving a priest, an attractive woman has to fall hopelessly in love with him. What a stupid, useless, cliché, especially in a movie like this.