Opus Dei Founder’s Story Told in Dragons
- Friday, May 06, 2011
Release Date: May 6, 2011 (limited)
Rating: PG-13 (for violence and combat sequences, some language and thematic elements)
Genre: Biography, Drama
Run Time: 120 min.
Director: Roland Joffé
Actors: Charlie Cox, Wes Bentley and Dougray Scott
The story begins with this: “I went looking for a saint and found my father.” Robert (Dougray Scott, Hitman) is a journalist who has returned to his native Spain to research a book on Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, a Catholic priest who founded Opus Dei and was (at the time) a candidate for canonization. Robert’s father, Manolo, lives in Madrid, but they haven’t spoken in decades. Robert would like to keep it that way, but when all the leads for information about Josemaría lead to his father, Robert is forced to make contact.
His father responds with a series of recordings, telling his story and that of the priest. The information comes with a warning: “If you want to hear about my past, I’ll tell you,” Manolo says, “but I warn you ... there be dragons.”
The stories begin together—Manolo (Wes Bentley, Jonah Hex) and Josemaría (Charlie Cox, Stardust) were childhood friends—before each goes its own way, held together by the thinnest of threads. This makes for a storyline that often seems disconnected and jumpy; the fact that it spans decades probably doesn’t help.
Josemaría grows up to become a priest at a time when that was a dangerous career path. Spain was in civil war; Fascists and Communists battled for control of the country, and neither side cared much for the church. In the midst of the violence, Josemaría creates a small community comprised of men, women, and married couples committed to “small but regular acts of love, each revealing the beauty of His creation.”
Manolo, on the other hand, grows up to become a spy. He doesn’t much care which side he’s on, so he winds up as a Fascist spy in a Communist group. It doesn’t seem to faze him that the men and women he works side by side with wind up dead thanks to his reports. Manolo’s only real goal is to get into the bed of comrade Ildiko (Olga Kurylenko, Quantum of Solace), a beautiful Hungarian who came to Spain to join the cause. Unfortunately for him, she’s in love with the leader of their little band. That doesn’t stop her from sharing her favors with other fighters as (she explains) “a gift, because they could die at any moment.” (Manolo doesn’t make the cut because she pegs him as jealous, something she finds unattractive.)
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