‘Priest’ - lacks both faith and prayers (IANS Movie Review)

May 14th, 2011 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Film: “Priest”; Cast: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Lily Collins; Director: Scott Charles Stewart; Rating: **

It’s an old cliche - ‘money can’t buy you passion and those with passion mostly don’t have money’. One of the best places to find proof of the same is Hollywood, and a latest example is of its dystopian extravaganza “Priest”.

Set in a futuristic parallel world where, after fighting vampires for centuries, humans have finally won the battle with the help of the priests - a band of fighters with special abilities and trained by the church to kill vampires. Sadly after the final battle, priests have been disbanded.

When the family of a priest (Paul Bettany) living in the outposts of walled cities, is killed and his niece abducted by the vampires, the priest defies the church and goes searching for her with her lover Hicks (Cam Gigandet).

The visual landscape and the dysfunctional, dark world created for the movie is spectacular and shows Hollywood at its best. However, the story lacks creativity and a punch-line — least expected from a cinematic adaptation of comic books.

The film, a jamboree of action, sci-fi and horror, is also full of cliches. Even the little suspense comes as no surprise, and the 3-D enhancement of the visuals fails to cover up the lack of a good story and writing.

The political metaphor of the film, coming at a time when it does, is not just misplaced but also dangerous. The analogy of fighting ‘vampires’ is like the US’ insistence on continuing its ‘War on Terror’ where almost everyone living in the ‘outposts’ beyond its world, deserves either scorn or annihilation.

The little attempts it makes of showing Christianisation of humanity and the importance of defiance against this ‘big brother’ is also too less and far between.

Director Scott Charles Stewart, once again makes a forgettable but visually appealing extravaganza after “The Legion”, a department he seems to be acquiring a notorious credibility in. Perhaps he should focus only on visual effects of which he is clearly a master and not take up direction.

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