The Secret of the Kells is worthy but esoteric | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

The Secret of the Kells is worthy but esoteric 

kells_hires_3.jpg

Just as The Secret of the Kells pays homage to the enduring spirit behind an ancient, illuminated Celtic text, so too is the film a sumptuous throwback to the vivid artistry of 2-D, hand-drawn animation. In that vein, this Oscar-nominated fable from director Tomm Moore and the producers behind the sublime The Triplets of Belleville also summons the influences of past and present animated masters, particularly the recent works of Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away).

Set in the ninth century inside the Monastery of Kells, the film opens as Abbot Cellach (Brendan Gleeson), a former illuminator, redirects his talents toward an obsessive effort to construct a giant wall around the Celtic abbey to keep out marauding, rapidly approaching Viking invaders. Abbot expects Brendan (Evan McGuire), his young nephew, to act in his stead. However, the star-eyed Brendan prefers to spend his time apprenticing with other monks in the scriptorium.

When master illustrator Aidan (Mick Lally) eludes the Vikings and arrives at the abbey's gates, he brings the Book of Iona-cum-Kells with him. Aidan enlists Brendan's help to finish the book, putting Brendan squarely at odds with his uncle.

The Secret of Kells posits several mature themes, including a healthy helping of Celtic, biblical and pagan imagery. Encapsulating a divide inside the Christian church, Abbot remains preoccupied with the protection from evil, while Aidan espouses changing the world through truth and beauty.

However, as you might expect with a luminescent fiction about the making of a musty medieval manuscript, the plot fails to stir any emotional resonance. The film's impressive aesthetics outstrip its kid-friendly storytelling, which is as reductive as a Saturday morning cartoon. As with many illustrated books, the strength of The Secret of Kells is its pictures, not their captions.

Film Details

The Secret of Kells
Rated NR · 75 min. · 2010
Official Site: thesecretofkells.com
Director: Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey
Writer: Tomm Moore and Fabrice Ziolkowski
Producer: Didier Brunner, Tomm Moore, Viviane Vanfleteren and Paul Young
Cast: Mick Lally, Evan McGuire, Christen Mooney and Brendan Gleeson

Trailer


Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for The Secret of Kells

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

The lobster is arbitrarily asinine, disjointed, and gratuitously violent towards both humans and former humans that "didn't make it." If …

by Marco_Polo on The Lobster Surreally Skewers Society’s Fear of Single People (Film Review)

The only peeople who murdered those boys were let off by an inexperienced prosecutor and hoodwinked judge. The facts are …

by Greg 1 on The West Memphis Three are free ... what about the real killer? (Film Review)

"Miles Ahead"... "opening Friday".... where? I'm having a tough time finding film times/locations on www.indyweek.com now. The …

by Tbone on Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis Film, Miles Ahead, Isn’t a Real Biopic—It’s Something Better (Film Review)

Actually, many evangelicals and other Christians would not agree with the notion that "if you are a true believer you …

by bsquizzato on Film Review: Christian Movie Miracles From Heaven Goes Where Secular Hollywood Won't (Film Review)

Comments

The lobster is arbitrarily asinine, disjointed, and gratuitously violent towards both humans and former humans that "didn't make it." If …

by Marco_Polo on The Lobster Surreally Skewers Society’s Fear of Single People (Film Review)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation