While restoring an old painting showing a woman and two men playing chess, Julia discovers the text "Who killed the knight" underneath the paint. The owner of the painting tells her that ...
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While restoring an old painting showing a woman and two men playing chess, Julia discovers the text "Who killed the knight" underneath the paint. The owner of the painting tells her that one of his forefathers was killed, the painting might identify the murderer. When Julia's friend is killed she understands that there is more to it. She consults Domenec, a chess genius who reconstructs the game from the painting. With any piece he takes, somebody dies. Written by
Radboud Bruinsma <Radboud_Bruinsma@hg.maus.de>
Truly appalling, indeed revolting, travesty of the work of a fine novelist
This film is so terrible that everything about it vies for the distinction of being 'the worst of ' Is it the worst directed film? The worst acted film? The worst screenplay? One could go on and on. Every character in the film is despicable, and every actor and actress is at his or her worst, with the men and women equally disgusting in every respect. How is it possible to make one of the world's worst films from an interesting novel by a distinguished Spanish author, Arturo Pérez-Reverte? Well, these things happen. Just think of all the terrible films made of classic novels ever since the cinema began. Perhaps most offensive of all in this film is the performance of Kate Beckinsale, who looks like she is about ten years old, and the director is always making her take her clothes off so he can have another look at her breasts, and when they are covered up, the tight little garment over them keeps them well in view because the director is apparently obsessed with her and her sexuality. Nor does she seem any less obsessed with herself. We get great gory close-ups of her slobbering kisses with some of the most disgusting men one has seen in a long time, one young blond fellow in particular whose mouth is larger than her face is wide, so that one wonders how she avoids being swallowed. The arrogant vanity of all of these people, who clearly believe themselves to be the most beautiful creatures on earth when they are in fact extremely ugly (except for Beckinsale who qualifies as cute but disturbingly vain and rampant), is nauseating in the extreme. Only one performance in the film has any merit to it at all: John Wood as a lonely old queen who is the lifelong protector of Beckinsale manages some genuine pathos, and as that is the only wholesome emotion visible in the entire film, one notices it. The story could and should have been made into a really interesting film, a film as compelling as, for instance, that of Reverte's novel THE FENCING MASTER (1992), which was a triumph of film-making. But the story is thrown away and the horrible screenwriter starts using the word 'f ' as soon as the film commences and continues to do so throughout, obviously thinking that it will make him popular with some imaginary 'youth' or 'trendies' who he thinks might watch the movie sometime. But the idea that one is somehow going to be in the vanguard of popularity because one can say 'f ' a lot is a tired and outworn notion which never had the slightest credibility to begin with. Sinead Cusack is terrifyingly horrible in this film in every respect, and I expect she wishes she could destroy every print and DVD of it in existence to eliminate the evidence of her greatest folly. Michael Gough and James Villiers also disgraced themselves. No one was safe in the hands of that director. The original story itself is intriguing. A Flanders panel painting comes to light in Spain after 500 years in the private hands of a noble family who live in an ancient castle. The title of the film, UNCOVERED, does not really relate to Kate Beckinsale's juvenile form, but rather to the Flanders panel itself. Kate Becksinsale (aged ten or whatever she really is, as who can tell with her hair cut like a boy and her tomboyish figure) is the unlikely picture restorer hired to clean and restore this valuable painting, and if you can believe that you can believe anything. People hire ten year-olds to restore valuable paintings every day, surely. She commissions an infra-red photo and discovers that a mysterious inscription had been painted over, which says in Latin 'Who killed the knight?' Two men in the painting are playing chess, but one of the men himself is a knight, and it turns out that he was killed as part of the intrigue portrayed in the painting. Meanwhile people start getting killed all round Beckinsale, and these killings seem to be related to those of 500 years ago and follow the pattern of the same chess game which is portrayed in the painting (the next moves of which predict who will be killed next). Well, there is no point in going on, because who cares, when a film is so terrible, what the original story was.
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