Movie Review: There Be Dragons

This one caught my eye recently mostly for one reason: It passed the test.

Courtney and I are trying to clean up our media even more lately, and we’ve committed to checking Parental Guides for any movie before we watch it. If we can feel comfortable with what the Parental Guide shows, we are okay to watch it. If not, we don’t.

This one passed the test.

The Good

The film is a brief history of the Spanish Civil War as told through the eyes of two men; one a priest in the Catholic church, the other the son of a wealthy businessman. The interplay between the two is relatively minor to the actual telling of the story but essential to the meaning, which is a fun interaction.

The plot is riveting. It starts a touch slow, but by the 30-minute mark, you’re completely caught up in the story. And the story is fast, jumping years at a time with multiple flash backs. It’s a difficult, challenging script as well, one that requires you to pay attention, which I like.

About the highest compliment I can pay to the film is that through out the film I kept wanting to go to Wikipedia to read up on the history surrounding the film. Any film that encourages me to want to learn something is a good film.

The last positive that I’ll throw out is that the film, which covers a violent subject, is not necessarily overly violent or bloody. It portrays war and the descent into riotous chaos with an urgency and clear message while not reveling in the horror and blood. It was honestly refreshing to see a mostly non-violent film covering what could have been a truly violent topic.

On a related note, a member of our Stake Presidency in our most recent stake conference pointed out that violence in our media is something we often ignore. He counseled us not to do that. I agree.

The Bad

It is a complex, fast film. I actually don’t know one of the main characters names still because it is an unfamiliar Spanish name and because the film moved so quickly. But that being said, it wasn’t a problem.

The film also deals with difficult, hard subject matter through out, especially dealing with the character whose name I don’t remember. There are times you want him to die. Others where you don’t know what to think. And still more where he’s the hero. When, at the end, he finally does what you expected him to do all along, it’s so shocking and out of character that you find yourself wanting to replay it.

His character development is utterly rich and full.


Yep, we have a winner. This is a very solid choice if you’re in the mood for a good, engaging film. There is almost no language, and what there is is very minor. There is no sex, although sex is briefly discussed between two characters. There is violence; it is not graphic, it is not consistent, nor is it the reason/purpose of the movie.

It’s not a film I’d watch frequently, but I would surely throw it in every now and then if we owned it.

Go rent it today. You’ll enjoy it.

A solid 3.5 out of 4 stars.

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One Response to Movie Review: There Be Dragons

  1. Pingback: Movie Review: Another Earth « the prodigal

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