The Wild Orchid is one of St. Francis' Little Flowers
Amaranth | Northern California | 12/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Francesco" is an unexpected triumph. St. Francis of Assisi has usually been depicted as an animal-loving,Nature-worshipping Dr. Dolittle-type,when in fact he was very much a gritty man of his time. St. Francis had lived a dissolute life before he was a conversion. He was a knight (hardly a placid garden statue) He lived in a brutal time. This Italian-made movie shows it perfectly.
"Francesco" opens with Francis returning from one of his latest crusades. There's a gruesome public flaying,as well as an orgy. Francis realizes he's lived an empty life. Baring all,he weds Lady Poverty (later on,he bares all in the snow to combat his lust) Rourke presents the religious life as sexy. St. Francis renounced earthly love, but he had passionate love for Lady Poverty. This movie shows Francis' immense love for the poor. He's often held up as a social justice saint. He was revolutionary in his time. Rourke depicts Francis as a firebrand. He lived very much among the people. Francis invented the Nativity Scene.
Helena Bonham-Carter,in contrast,is a pallid and dull St. Clare. Historically, St. Clare was a passionate, mystical woman. She stood up for herself in escaping an arranged marriage. Bonham-Carter makes Clare into a boring,passive figure.
"Francesco" is a fiery,fascinating depiction of the beloved saint that's surprisingly contemporary. While Mickey Rourke is earning critical kudos for "The Wrestler",he is excellent in this movie of a saint wrestling with himself. He's marvelous as "Il Poverello (The Poor One)" with a rich performance."
A Worthy Canticle of St. Francis
Rocky Raccoon | Boise, ID | 11/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"`Francesco' has to be one of the best depictions of the life of the most beloved saint ever conceived. Not as stiff as `Francis of Assisi' nor as vibrant as Zefferelli's `Brother Sun, Sister Moon,' this film, nevertheless, remains so authentic because it emulates the simplicity of the troubadour saint.
Starring Mickey Rourke and Helena Bonham Carter as Francis and Clare respectively, the actors capture the heart of these sacred personalities without overstating their case. For Rourke's part one can't help but appreciate the repertoire of someone who can make a portrayal of Francis look so effortless after doing such a tragic protagonist in Angel Heart. The production isn't flashy, and the lighting tends to accentuate the earth tones that match the spirit and mood of the project.
Genuinely highlighting the key portions of their lives, the movie skips back and forth to Francis's eulogy where Clare and other key followers grieve and honor his passing and the resonance he brought to their lives. While this facet of the movie is effective at the end and in some other key places, it is a bit jarring and takes away the absorbing moments shown during his life. (It's not as effective as say `Amadeus,' which is a model of this film's structure.)
After all is said and done, `Francesco' is a fine composite, and one of the most effective Catholic celluloid portrayals of all time.
(Happy Belated All Saints' Day! :>)"
Good performance but video transfer cries out for improvemen
Gregory Streeter | Virginia, USA | 05/01/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This release from Trinity appears to be the same video transfer of the earlier Simitar version. It cries out for remastering as the resolution is closer to VHS quality. While the DVD's jacket claims widescreen, it is actually 1.33 pan & scan with many scenes suffering from being lopped off on the left and right side. The 2 channel Dolby Digital audio is pretty good with only a couple places of peak level distortion. The movie itself is a solid historical performance with the Vangelis score being a high point of the production."
Shirley Knowles | 04/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mickey Rourke a great actor back then and now. With his new movie 'The Wrestler' Francesco gives a look at his earlier days and acting."