Recounts the life and loves of the physician, astrologer, and famed prognosticator; his encounters with medieval science and the Inquisition; and his early struggles with his visions of the... See full summary »
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Recounts the life and loves of the physician, astrologer, and famed prognosticator; his encounters with medieval science and the Inquisition; and his early struggles with his visions of the future. The film is set in France in the 16th century during one of the periodic plague outbreaks (as opposed to the Black Death [mid-14th-century Europe] or the Black Plague [mid-17th-century London]). The film depicts Nostradamus's rise in influence, because of both his success in treating plague and his predictions, culminating in his appointment as court physician to Charles IX of France. Written by
Nostradamus is showing his son how to use a divining rod to find underground water and says that there is water 4 meters below, but the metric system wasn't invented until 1799 (roughly 160 years later). See more »
Tcheky Karyo, most familiar to American audiences as Bob, the enigmatic secret agent by way of Pygmalion in Luc Besson's NIKITA, has his first English-language lead role as the 16th-century physician and prophet Michel de Nostradame, who predicted various events occurring hundreds of years into the future.
Filmed in Romania, the film is a grim, grubby depiction of the renaissance era, but seldom reaches any moments of true insight into Nostradamus' life. Instead of taking a scholarly approach required of the subject, and concentrating on the man's vision, director Roger Christian (whose claim to fame is being the art director on Ridley ScottÕs ALIEN and directing the pretty much forgetable horror flick THE SENDER) panders to the lowest common denominator by focusing on his love life, and his run-ins with pugnacious Inquisitors.
When he is shown having his prophetic visions, most of the sequences are stilted and hokey. Only one prediction sequence has any power, the vision of the Black Rain, filmed in Copsa Mica, which the National Geographic Society once branded as the most polluted city in Europe.
Academy Award Winner F. Murray Abraham (AMADEUS), called in to save the acting day, does serviceable work as Scalinger, Nostradamus' sometime mentor, and Rutger Hauer is weird and funny as the Mystic Monk. Do I hear laughs? His turn is actually quite enjoyable, with his candle-lit hat and his demolition of the loathsome flagellates.
Karyo consorts with a bevy of bold European actresses, including Julia Ormond, Maia Morgenstern (THE OAK), and Assumpta Serna (MATADOR, THE FENCING MASTER.) He makes a noble effort with his calm, cultivated, at times endearing performance but he can't carry the whole film.
The movie eventually dissipates in the scarcity of its low budget, borrowing footage (ironically enough) from ALIENS for its final sequence which depicts space travel.
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