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There Be Dragons: Movie Review

In olden times, when people didn't know much about the world, they labeled their maps of unknown or dangerous places with the phrase "here be dragons". Ironically, "There Be Dragons" is one epic film piece because of said dragons littered throughout the movie - the dragons here are the trials and tribulations all lead characters will and must face in their lives. Those personal dragons not only make the characters deeper and more human but the movie also integrates all of them together perfectly that the film leaves an indelible mark to the user. "There Be Dragons" is an epic that's for sure. Not only because of its top notch production but primarily due to the stories it wants to tell.

Robert (Dougray Scott) is assigned to write a book on the life of Jose Maria Escriva (Charlie Cox). The assignment brings him back to Madrid - his hometown and the place where his estranged father, Manolo (Wes Bentley) lives. With a little bit of luck, Robert finds out that his father actually knew Jose Maria Escriva personally. Through his father's stories of his life with Escriva, not only will Robert find out details he needs for his book but he will also find out his father's secrets and a shattering revelation about himself.

"There Be Dragons" is one beautiful film. From the first scene to the last, the movie is littered with scenes that will leave you astounded - from its gritty Spanish Civil War parts or the saintly and holy revelations of Jose Maria Escriva or the more recent modern space of Madrid. Everything just feels authentic and real and it is a feat in itself. "There Be Dragons" biggest asset though is its story - a story composed of the lives of its three main characters of Manolo, Saint Escriva and Robert. The movie uses their different stories to accentuate its message and moral - that life is unpredictable, full of "dragons" and how we respond to those "dragons" define who we are and who we become. Although even with all its merits, we felt that the movie did had lackluster acting especially with Wes Bentley as Manolo. Some may also hate the religious side the movie takes but in our opinion, the movie was unbiased when it comes to Catholicism and the various "signs from God". In fact, the movie leaves those scenes open for interpretation - it can be a miracle but it can also be just coincidence and chance or human nature. Bottomline, "There Be Dragons" is one rewarding film full of symbolism and lessons presented in an easy-to-digest and easy-to-interpret package.

Rating: 4 and a half reels





Why you should watch it:
- the story and its characters are its best asset
- beautiful is the only thing we can say on how the film was shot and the set pieces presented

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the acting and the cast could have been better
- some may hate the semi-religious side the movie takes


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