The series follows two women-medieval Alaïs Pelletier du Mas (Jessica Brown Findlay), who lives through the Crusades and Cathar massacres in medieval France, and modern-day Alice Tanner (...
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The series follows two women-medieval Alaïs Pelletier du Mas (Jessica Brown Findlay), who lives through the Crusades and Cathar massacres in medieval France, and modern-day Alice Tanner (Vanessa Kirby)-in their quest to find the Holy Grail. Alice, a volunteer at a French archaeological excavation, discovers the skeletal remains of two people in a cave, as well as a labyrinth-engraved ring, which attracts the attention of unscrupulous individuals. In 1209, newly married Alaïs is living in Carcassonne, a stronghold of Cathars who have been declared heretical by the Church. Alaïs and her father are protecting three sacred books that reveal the secret of the Holy Grail from the Crusaders. Written by
A TV miniseries adaptation of the Kate Mosse novel LABYRINTH. I made a point of reading the book before watching this, and I found out that I didn't think very much of it at all. The miniseries would be an improvement, right? Well, it is, but it's certainly not a "great" piece of entertainment, saddled as it is with various flaws and contradictions.
The good news is that although it follows the same basic plotting as the novel, pretty much every scene and sequence is changed slightly, enhanced to be more entertaining for TV audiences. Thus it's also a lot more explicit, with some bloodshed and nudity thrown in for adult viewers.
It's better than the book because it doesn't drag so much, preferring to get on with the narrative instead of throwing in the three-pages of travelogue stuff that lets Mosse's writing down. The enhanced levels of violence make this hard-hitting in places, but the calibre of the acting is a disappointment. Some of the established supporting actors are okay - John Hurt, Tom Curran, even Tom Felton in a Orlando-Bloom-in-Kingdom-of-Heaven type role, but the leads are weak, particularly Vanessa Kirby. Who ever thought she'd be experienced enough to carry the central role?
There are still problems with the story, namely the sub-DA VINCI CODE antics of the modern-day tale (which could have been removed completely), although the historical stuff is more interesting. Some of the direction is also a little cheesy, especially when it descends into sub-Shakespeare melodrama at the climax. Still, I suspect those unfamiliar with the story will enjoy it more than I did...
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