Sunday, 27 November 2011

Review for “Des hommes et des dieux ” - Of Gods and Men

“Of Gods and Men” is a true story based on a group of Trappist monks living in Algeria. Islamic rebels threat their lives and the monks must decide what to do: safely escape the country, or stay in the heart of danger.

This film is not action packed. It is not fast paced or full of sex and scandal. Instead it is slow, calm and filmed in such a beautiful manner it may reduce you to tears. The camera silently pans across the landscape, which reflects the monastic vow of silence, which presumably all of the men would have taken. Writers Xavier Beauvois and Etienne Comar daringly use minimal dialogue to emphasis this. The film could have been half an hour shorter, and a smidgen faster.

The actors playing the roles of the monks (led by Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale) showed respect for each of their characters, who had clearly been researched thoroughly before filming started. The decisions that the men had to make were emotional, both for the character and the audience. The group of actors managed to portray their complex emotions with just the slightest movement. This in itself is something to be applauded, as many Hollywood films need characters to spell out their emotions.

Overall, “Of Gods and Men” is very much worth the two hours that it takes to watch from start to finish. It is inspiring to see how humble and brave humans can be, especially in times of great danger and uncertainty.  

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