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|Index||23 reviews in total|
21 out of 37 people found the following review useful:
Sickening: please read the novels, 25 September 2001
Author: Keith F. Hatcher from La Rioja, Spain
It is perfectly comprehensible that in converting a book into a film,
certain aspects become altered. There will always be deviations from
perhaps the original idea, and of course certain literary concepts will
be lost. Only very occasionally does a film come out that may seriously
be considered a faithful adaptation of the novel in question. What is
totally incomprehensible is the mutilation suffered by the highly
readable 'La Tabla de Flandes' by the most popular Spanish author
Arturo Pérez-Reverte. The novel is set in Madrid the film moved that
scenario to Barcelona. The quiet, absorbed, meditative intellectual
chess-player Muñoz in the book was replaced for the film by a vulgar,
gaudy, flamboyant, almost gypsy-looking, blonde called Domenec, and the
nicely composed Spanish señorita called Julia was transposed into a
terribly British Kate Beckinsale. Indeed, all those fine characters
penned by Pérez-Reverte were transformed into British Isles actors.
Apart from these unbelievable and unforgivable changes of
convenience, the film hustles along from scene to scene in a highly
disordered and accident-ridden way, confusing those who have not read
the novel, angering those who have, and no doubt leaving the author
I have read just about everything Arturo Pérez-Reverte has published to date. In film versions I have only seen 'La Tabla de Flandes' and 'Territorio Comanche' (qv). Suffice to say: forget about the films in all cases, and Sr. Pérez-Reverte himself is the first to veto these films. But if you would like some challenging, exciting reading of good style and pace, carefully meditated and ingenious plots, frequently based on real history and exhaustive investigations to prepare them, I recommend in the following order: El Hussar, Territorio Comanche, El Maestro de Esgrima (q.v. - 1992 directed by Pedro Olea and worth a watch), El Club Dumas, La Tabla de Flandes, and La Piel del Tambor, as well as the 'Capitán Alatriste' series all available in English (am not certain about the first title being in English) and probably in French and German, as well as other languages.
5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Potentially Interesting Subject Deserves Better Execution, 27 April 2009
Author: gpeevers from Canada
Julia (Kate Beckinsale) an art restorer finds a hidden message in
medieval painting she is working on that points to the murderer of one
of the subjects depicted. Fascinated she digs deeper into the origins
of the painting and the clues within. The old mystery though is soon
paralleled by a new mystery as the people involved in her research
start to die. The story is seemingly well suited to the British mystery
genre but fails largely due to aspects of the execution.
Kate Beckinsale manages with her portrayal to be both slightly awkward as well as endearingly cute but she seems decidedly out of her depth in a few of the more emotional/dramatic scenes. The film does boast a strong supporting cast of British character actors who may not have name recognition to some but should be highly recognizable to many including; John Wood, Sinead Cusack, Michael Gough. For the most part the supporting cast acquit themselves well considering how clichéd their characters are.
While some may find it slow I was interested in the glimpse at the Art restoration process, I thought some things look authentic about the process, but other aspects didn't quite ring true. The current day murder mystery aspect was far less satisfying, character behavior and actions seemed inconsistent and for me the biggest flaw (considering the genre) was that the identity of the murderer seemed far to obvious. Further the brief flashbacks to the subjects of the painting did virtually nothing to advance or support the story, they simply felt unnecessary.
The film is set in Barcelona but features an almost entirely English cast that speaks entirely in English and makes no attempt at Spanish accents. This is common in American films but seemed odd in a British film. The film makes reasonable use of the Barcelona locations including some wonderful Gaudi architecture, but I actually would have preferred even more attention on the culture and the city.
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Beckinsale's rack and Michael Gough as a Spaniard, 3 August 2010
Author: MBunge from Waterloo, Iowa
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watching this film will leave you with two impressions.
1. There are no Spanish people in Spain.
2. Kate Beckinsale had quite a perky bosom in the mid 90s.
Set in Barcelona, this story concerns a young art restorer named Julia (Kate Beckinsale) who is working on a 500 year old painting for her art dealer friend Menchu (Sinead Cusack). Julia discovers a secret message hidden within the painting about a murder half a millennia ago. Julia's efforts to unravel this ancient mystery involve her old art professor and lover Alvaro (Art Malik), her longtime guardian and prissy British homosexual Cesar (John Wood) and a streetwise chess hustler named Domenec (Paudge Behan). Julia also has to deal with Don Manual (Michael Gough), the terminally ill owner of the painting, his niece Lola (Helen McCrory) and her sexual predator of a husband Max (Peter Wingfield). But as she solves the riddle secreted within the painting, people suddenly start dying around Julia in a fashion that seems to be a continuation of the murder 500 years ago. I'd say that Julia then has to race against time to find the killer, but nothing in this movie ever moves faster than a leisurely walk.
If you want to know what Uncovered is like, imagine an extra long episode of the public television program Mystery! where Kate Beckinsale gets naked. That's an almost perfect description of this film and I'm sure it would be a big hit during pledge week. If those sort of British mysteries are your thing, you'll probably like this movie a great deal. If not, well you still might like seeing Beckinsale's boobs, but there's not much else here for you.
The only other interesting thing, besides Beckinsale's sweet rack, is that even though the story is set in Spain, there are no Spanish people in it. Now, you could accept that everything in the movie happens within the British expatriate community in Barcelona. However, that doesn't excuse trying to pass off Michael Gough as the supposed last survivor of a Spanish family that traces its lineage back for centuries. Gough beats out Charlton Heston in Touch of Evil for the title of "Least Spanish Spaniard in Cinematic History". I look more Spanish than Michael Gough.
I should also caution you that even though Uncovered is about two separate mysteries, there's nothing all that mysterious about either of them. There aren't a bunch of clues in the story that you can notice and figure out who committed either the ancient killing or the modern slayings. The answers are just sort of presented to the audience.
Uncovered is definitely a case of "You'll like it, if you like that sort of thing". That sort of thing being, in this case, British mysteries and/or Kate Beckinsale's breasts.
11 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
B-movie at best, not Kates best, predictable, 9 October 2004
Author: gregg-cindybrink from Arizona, USA
This movie is a very poor translation from the novel. Loosely based at best, with location and characters changed to the point where they are barely recognizable. The original plot of this story was intriguing and one that would make a great movie, had it been written with clarity and thought. However this version is designed with plenty of liberties taken on character development and plot continuity. Some I am sure would love the generous portion of nudity without reason or cause. Kate Beckinsale wandering around on the screen naked for no apparent reason is something I doubt we would see much of now. If you enjoy laughing over a miserable attempt to make a mystery, then by all means, rent this one, have some friends over, make popcorn, and have a cooler of beer on hand, and prepare to be entertained. But if you are looking for an edge of your seat afternoon of entertainment, look elsewhere.
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Quis Necavit Equitem?, 16 June 2012
Author: James Hitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England
"Uncovered" is based on Arturo Pérez-Reverte's novel "The Flanders
Panel". Julia Darro, a young art historian and restorer from Barcelona,
is working on a fifteenth-century Flemish painting called "The Game of
Chess", when she discovers a painted-over message reading "Quis Necavit
Equitem?" (Latin for "Who killed the knight?") Julia begins to research
the painting's background to discover the meaning of this inscription,
and discovers that it relates to a 500-year-old murder mystery. She
realises that the solution to the mystery is connected to the chess
game being played in the picture, and knowing little of the game
herself recruits Domenec, a talented local chess player, to assist her.
Julia and Domenec, however, realise that they are in danger, as several
people connected with their research are also murdered.
The central mystery is an intriguing and ingenious one, and well developed, although I could spot the identity of the murderer well before this was announced on screen. There are no really outstanding acting performances, but the lovely Kate Beckinsale makes a charming heroine (although I could never work out why she sneezes so much). Kate is one of the few actresses who can get away with wearing her hair boyishly short and still look strikingly beautiful.
One criticism I have heard is that although the main characters are all supposed to be Spanish they all speak English without foreign accents. This, however, is not something which has ever worried me. The use of native British or American accents to represent foreigners' use of their own native languages is something I find perfectly acceptable. Charlton Heston's El Cid, for example, was also a Spaniard, and nobody complains that he speaks English like an American rather than like Manuel in "Fawlty Towers".
This is one of the few films to take an interest in chess and art history, two rather intellectual pursuits, and it does so in such a way as to make both those subjects seem interesting, even glamorous, featuring a romance between a beautiful young art historian and a handsome chess genius. It makes good use of its setting, with some wonderful views of the city of Barcelona, especially the architecture of Antoni Gaudi. (One of the characters lives in an apartment in Casa Batlló, and Julia and Domenec first meet in Park Güell).
Although this film was an Anglo-Spanish co-production, and stars a well-known English actress, it is curiously unknown in Britain. Although it is nearly twenty years since it was made, I have never seen it on television here, and it is available on DVD in the US but not in the UK. Yet it is, I think, a film which deserves to be better-known. 7/10
6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Truly appalling, indeed revolting, travesty of the work of a fine novelist, 6 March 2010
Author: robert-temple-1 from United Kingdom
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.
Sunday Night Mystery Theater, 26 May 2012
Author: Thunderpa from United States
This is a mildly entertaining film as long as you are not expecting very much. Uncovered is pretty much on par with the old Sunday Night Mysteries like McMillan & Wife and McCloud. There is some nudity in the film but it is really nothing to get too excited about one way or the other. The characters are pleasant enough to watch but none are truly compelling. The story is mildly interesting but there is nothing captivating or compelling about the storyline. The analogy to the chess game is mildly amusing but it seems somewhat of a reach for a feature length film. The main reason to see Uncovered is the opportunity to see Kate Beckinsale at an early stage of her career.
Checkmated., 29 April 2010
Author: Robert J. Maxwell (email@example.com) from Deming, New Mexico, USA
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Kate Bekinsale is an art restorer working on a painting that's hundreds
of years old, depicting a chess game. She uncovers a hidden Latin
inscription -- "Who Killed the Horse"? The "horse", someone informs
her, refers to the white night shown in the painting. The man who owns
the painting tells Bekinsale that the figures in the painting are his
ancestors. The owner is murdered.
After that, I was lost. Bekinsale pics up some chess hustler to help her unravel the game in the painting. What were the previous moves. Each time a previous position is figured out, somebody dies. (I think.) Now, I am no dummy when it comes to chess. When I was ten years old I played a dozen games simultaneously while blindfolded. True, I lost every game. I'm not ignorant of movies either. I've had a sterling career as an unknown extra in literally a few movies that sank without leaving a trace. But the point is, if I remember it, that the plot of this movie involves chess and it was beyond my comprehension.
Not that it's entirely without virtues. Kate Bekinsale in 1994 is very cute, dressed and groomed a la gamin, and in one scene she appears topless, dressed only in a pair of skivvies. Maybe that's when all thoughts of chess were ablated.
Watch it, if you want, but it's a long, slow, murky slog -- except for that nude scene that lasts about fifteen seconds.
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Succeeds in bringing life to the story but fails to convince., 6 June 2006
Author: ford56 from Bing Dao
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film has had some negative reviews but I don't feel that they are entirely fair. The book that the film is based on is very literary and lifeless and the events improbable. So even though the book has a clever plot it is TOO clever. It's like clockwork where you can see little wheels moving instead of living people. The film tries to correct this by changing it into a story of characters of flesh and blood that can arouse the interest of the audience. It succeeds in some ways but the whole thing somehow falls apart and never manages to be entirely engaging or convincing. A good example of this is that the reason why and how the murders have a connection with the painting and the chess problem is never explained in the film. I mean why would the murderer bother to connect what he does to the chess problem? It's explained in the book but not the film. It's still worth watching and it certainly has more life in it than the book.
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
I liked Uncovered _ SPOILERS (Maybe), 19 August 2007
Author: ardie_too-1 from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Uncovered isn't Citizen Kane. It's a light mystery involving a painting
that's being restored. The cast was more than up to the job, but for
all but one of them the performances were average.
Other than the city of Barcelona, the single stand-out member of the cast is Peter Wingfield playing the rough, small-time, self absorbed and slightly oily gigolo, Max LaPena. He pulls this role off to perfection. He's young, gorgeous, not as smooth or as smart as he thinks he is and although he's a total brat, there's a desperate vulnerability to Max that would be very attractive to many women. Max LaPena is a street kid who's parlayed his face and body into a marriage with the greedy, controlling, grand-daughter, and sole heir of the aristocratic Spanish family that owns the mysterious painting. Max, as do others in this film, has his own dreams regarding the painting and isn't above using his assets to make those dreams come true. He's wonderfully amoral and by far the most interesting character in Uncovered.
In this mildly entertaining film it's the scenes of beautiful Barcelona and an equally handsome and very talented Peter Wingfield that make it worth the rental fee or purchase price.
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