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There Be Dragons

Submitted by Commandrea on May 5, 2024 – 11:37 pmNo Comment

The Spanish Civil War makes for a pretty good film in all cases. Look at the multiple versions of A Farewell To Arms. Or more recently del Toro’s The Devils Backbone or The Wind That Shakes the Barley from Ken Loach. And now There Be Dragons, from distributor Samuel Goldwyn, flies in under the radar and opens sans mass advertising this weekend.

There Be Dragons has all the sweep and pomp of a large scale Hollywood period drama; director Roland Joffe knows how to mix and match great zooms and dolly shots and when to keep the camera still. It may be archaic to offer a trailer where the film proclaims that the director of The Killing Fields has helmed There Be Dragons, because who has seen that masterpiece along with another 1980s Joffe offering The Mission. I remember the first time I saw The Killing Fields. I remember it quite clearly because two buddies and myself had dropped acid and were sure the film would blow out minds. As it did, and even before we entered the theater we were in the parking garage of a movie palace long since demolished and we saw this femme drive up in a Porche with a bumper sticker that said “Nuke the gay whales for Jesus.” We just kind of stared at the car and laughed and definitely freaked her out.

There Be Dragons unfolds as a flashback wherein an old man on his death bed bonds with his reluctant son in the midst of flashbacks set during said Spanish Civil War. Wes Bentley has the most delectable role, a man whose allegiance wavers with each battle. Even as he’s conflicted the audience is confused in the midst of random revolution. The movie also has a real life character that was the founder of the Opus Dei sect of Catholicism. This is a war where priests were being shot on the sight.

Before the movie’s wraps you are in the grasp of its power. There Be Dragons pits the sexy femme against the revolution and you have to wonder what you would do?

- Michael Bergeron

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