The Name of the Rose

The Name of the Rose Review

by C. Palmer

** 2 Stars

Being a show about monks set in the 14th Century, viewers should not go into this hoping for a fast-paced action hour but, even so, Battiato’s adaptation is much too slow with barely anything to hook you in, save for the surprisingly decent cinematography.

Actors: John Turturro, Damian Hardung

Synopsis: A Franciscan monk, William of Baskerville, is en route to an abbey to investigate a murder. In hopes of becoming a monk, our main character and narrator Adso follows him after leaving behind his murderous father.

The Name of the Rose is an adaptation of the 1980 debut novel by Umberto Eco, bringing the story to life through a visually stunning TV series. The show has an estimated budget of $30,000,000, which is very apparent given its grand setting and attention to detail to imitate 14th Century Italy. However, what this show achieves in visual merit, it sadly lacks in managing to captivate the viewer with its characters.

The pilot is almost Sherlock Holmes-esque, with William of Baskerville being the omniscient mastermind and Adso of Melk being his lacking partner in crime. Whilst this is an easy comparison, what Giacomo Battiato fails to do is provide us with an interesting Dr Watson character. Adso, in all his naivety and youth, plays very little part in this episode, leaving the spotlight for William, which ultimately disconnects the viewer from the main character, who most will see from this introduction as forgettable. It doesn’t help that he has little to no character traits either, with his only goal being to become a monk and little getting in his way to achieve this. Whilst William is introduced rather well in this episode as a wise and somewhat arrogant detective, Adso is left behind.

Being a show about monks set in the 14th Century, viewers should not go into this hoping for a fast-paced action hour but, even so, Battiato’s adaptation is much too slow with barely anything to hook you in, save for the surprisingly decent cinematography. The characters are fairly lacklustre and the plot verges on boring for most of its run-time. Personally, I would not recommend this show to anyone who isn’t already interested in monks or 14th Century Italy.

The Name of the Rose is currently available on BBC iPlayer and was rated 15 by the BBFC.

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