There Be Dragons
Editor Patrick Novecosky reviews Roland Joffe’s latest film opening May 6 . . .
Mainstream Hollywood movies have a great track record of distorting the truths of the Catholic faith and making our priests (and saints) out to be fools or evil-doers. Every once in a while a film breaks the mold — usually produced independent of the studio system.
Such a film opens later this month, an independently produced movie that explores the life and legacy of St. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei. Written and produced by Roland Joffé (The Mission), There Be Dragons is an epic tale of jealousy, faith, redemption and forgiveness.
Beginning in 1982, a London-based journalist, Robert Torres (Dougray Scott), long ago rejected by his now aged and dying father Manolo Torres (Wes Bentley) finds himself investigating one of his father’s former friends, Escrivá (Charlie Cox), a candidate for canonization. Uncovering the two men’s complicated relationship from childhood through the horrors of the Spanish Civil War unveils a compelling drama filled with passion, betrayal, love and faith.
Financed by a few members of Opus Dei, There Be Dragons is a gripping drama, but it’s anything but a pious movie. It garnered a PG-13 rating for war violence and some mild language. Nonetheless, it skillfully depicts the bright contrast between good and evil. More importantly, it’s one of the rare big-budget films ($30 million) that portrays a priest/saint as the hero who overcomes his own demons/dragons through faith in God and an emphasis on Christ’s instruction to love your enemies even when it seems humanly impossible.
Although some have dismissed it as a “Catholic film,” the movie’s theme is universal: Forgiveness is at the heart of what it means to be human. If there’s one thing viewers will take away from There Be Dragons, it’s the importance and timeless power of forgiveness.