Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Secret of Kells

2009, France/Belgium/Ireland, directed by Tomm Moore

As you might expected, the visuals are the thing here, with Tomm Moore's film making liberal use of inspiration from the Book of Kells itself, and other Celtic/religious artwork of the period. He finds much of the visual energy latent in the original drawings and breathes literal life into those pictures, giving us a sense of the world from which the art emerged without being excessively literal. This is, after all, a mythological origin story rather than a history, taking one of the possible explanations for the creation of the Book of Kells and running with it.

At times, the imagery is so powerful that it seems to overwhelm the characters: while the young characters' voices are wonderfully evocative and the late, lamented Mick Lally does a fine job as Brother Aidan, Brendan Gleeson's abbot seems somehow remote from what we see onscreen, as though his otherwise rich voice doesn't quite jell with the images.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States