- A 15th Century "12 Angry Men" 8/9/2006 12:00:00 AM by persandlandnielsen
A treat for history buffs who like their movies to absorb rather just entertain. The combination of sophistry and brutality paints a picture of the age in which it is set. Cardinals with mistresses, and low scruples in arm-twisting confrontation over the election of the new pope pits the shrewd but earthy Piccolomin (played in character by Brian Blessed) against the ruthless and brilliant D'Estouteville (James Faulkner). The plot includes promises of royal patronage, rival families asserting threats, and anti-Spanish killing. Should be familiar to all politicians with promises to make and break.
It is a 15th Century "12 Angry Men", in this case 18.
- Excellent! 3/29/2009 12:00:00 AM by AncientWays
I saw this last night by chance on the TV. It was excellent! It was wonderful to see a totally absorbing movie, with breathtaking suspense based not on endless explosions and car chases, but brava performances by talented actors with a great and insightful script.
The historical setting is very well done showing both the grimy violent of the time, and the contradictions of politics and faith in the inner workings of the Vatican.
But the main joy is the intelligent acting and clear characterizations of the contending cardinals.
Just a note: for those who don't know their history, the main character, Rodrigo Borgia went on to became Pope Alexander VI, the father of Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia by the woman portrayed as his mistress in the film. He was the most controversial of the secular popes of the Renaissance.
Wonderful film, see it if you can.
- Excellent acting 9/11/2015 12:00:00 AM by depont03
I would recommend this film to any people interested in history of Europe/Italy during the Renaissance time. The events take place in the year 1458 and describe the political turmoil around the election of the new pontiff. Although young Rodrigo Borja plays a prominent role, this film is not solely about him but about the conclave of cardinals as a whole. The acting is excellent and it is impressive how a film shot in a few closed rooms without any visual effects or fast action sequences can grasp the attention of the viewer by pure strength of dialog and portrayal of character. I especially liked the acting of Brian Blessed (Piccolomini), James Faulkner (Cardinal Guillaume D'Estouteville), Brian Downey (Cardinal Juan De Mella), Rolf Kanies (Cardinal Bessarion) and others.
The film conveys the atmosphere of these times brilliantly and it is tempting to ask for a continuation. One caveat is that the film is not following the exact sequence of historical events, and I would advise reading a wiki article about the conclave of 1458. But only AFTER watching the film.
- Easter surprise 4/3/2018 12:00:00 AM by ajpk-45215
This movie has been on our "to watch" list since we read writer Pauyl Donovan's self-review of his own film on Amazon Prime last year. His "review" was actually a fascinating summary of his film's post-production travails.
We watched it Easter Sunday, and yet we're still discussing aspects late Monday evening. Outstanding piiierformances and writing in this tense period drama. Even though the bulk of the movie consists mostly of dialogue amongst the cardinals, somehow, the writers managed to convey the impossible mix of religion and politics, man and god, power and money that influences these men as they choose their next Pope.
It's a sparse production that might not appeal to all, but we found it to be an enjoyable drama with the added benefit of a well-researched historical anchor. A sincere thank-you to Paul Donovan for making this jewel available by uploading it to Amazon Direct for all of us to see, despite the film's distribution challenges.
- Great intro to Borgia 3/28/2018 12:00:00 AM by kjohoy
I did see Borgia but not showtimes series, I caught the Borgias on Netflix and wow that was a great series, The conclave gives us a peek at Rodrigo as a young cardinal just learning the ropes. A must see if your a fan of The Borgia series.