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Review: The Mill and the Cross

Conceptually confusing
By GERALD PEARY  |  October 18, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

Clever CGI allows the effective recreation of a 16th century Flanders. There, the great artist Pieter Bruegel (Rutger Hauer) is conceiving his masterly 1564 painting The Way to Calvary in the midst of a military occupation of Taliban-like Spanish papists who are crushing the local Protestant Reformation. He decides to politicize his work by showing those torturing Christ in the red uniform of the Spanish invaders. That's the tale, and Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski (working from a script by art historian Michael Francis Gibson) makes it more intellectually interesting but definitely more conceptually confusing with a host of deconstructive, postmodernist thrusts. Hauer is OK as Bruegel, but Charlotte Rampling is weird as the painting's Virgin Mary and, in a mostly non-verbal story, she's burdened by some excruciatingly gushy voiceovers .

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