More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
4.36

Awesome50%
Worth A Look: 42.86%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 7.14%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 2 user ratings


Latest Reviews

November (2017) by Jay Seaver

Friendly Beast by Jay Seaver

Foreigner, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

Tom of Finland by Rob Gonsalves

Happy Death Day by Jay Seaver

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene by Jay Seaver

Death Note: Light Up the New World by Jay Seaver

Brawl in Cell Block 99 by Peter Sobczynski

Almost Coming, Almost Dying by Jay Seaver

Blade Runner 2049 by Rob Gonsalves

subscribe to this feed


Secret of Kells, The
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"An education, with fairies and vikings"
4 stars

As strikingly animated and superlatively textured a motion picture as “The Secret of Kells” is, it can be a little aloof. A blend of history and mythology, the feature is a distinctive enterprise that aims to challenge family audiences and animation purists with a tenaciously 2-D snapshot of the world. It’s a passionate, dreamlike offering of filmmaking that requires the viewer to surrender to its often challenging storytelling, yet the time invested with this fringe player in the animation marketplace clash of the titans is rewarded with a resourceful, exquisite tale of tradition and education.

In the 9th century, Abbot Cellach (voiced by Brendan Gleeson) has ordered the construction of a massive wall to help protect the Abbey of Kells from the wrath of the Vikings. Brendan (Evan McGuire) is a child growing up in the center of the settlement, curious about the forests that stand beyond the stone. Arriving hastily in Kells after a Viking attack is Brother Aiden (Mick Lally), who’s been working on a collection of illumination called The Book of Iona. Sensing a great apprentice in Brendan, Aiden sends the boy off into to the woods to retrieve berries for ink, where he finds friendship with a lonely fairy named Aisling (Christen Mooney). As the Vikings approach the abbey, Cellach attempts to keep Brendan’s soaring spirit suppressed, viewing the preservation of the book as a needless distraction in the face of a violent reality.

I realize that just because “The Secret of Kells” is animated doesn’t automatically make it a family film. However, there’s an effort from co-directors Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey to bring this ominous fable down to an approachable size through the colorful imagination of the filmmaking and the boundless determination of Brendan, who overcomes his lack of years with a feisty spirit of youthful questioning. Despite the forbidding tone and historic setting, younger viewers will find plenty to cheer about with “The Secret of Kells,” which smartly puts forward an adventurous tone of discovery, artistic significance, and supernatural confrontation.

While the mystery of the book and the menace of the Vikings provides a great deal of suspense, the true hook of “The Secret of Kells” is the animation, which is pure hand-drawn mastery. Reminiscent of Richard Williams’s abortive “The Thief and the Cobbler,” Moore and Twomey imagine a largely angular world for Brendan, with exaggerated human characteristics pushed up against a colorful, perspective-bending environment, with use of split-screen and assorted surreal tangents to shake up the visual experience. Once Brendan enters the forbidden forest, the picture indulges in a range of cartoon expressions and ethereal movement, as Aisling dances around the frame indicating her flexible bond with nature. Villainy is handled superbly through the refrigerator-with-horns design of the Vikings, while Brendan’s demonic trials are bestowed painterly grace, making his battles to preserve the book dramatically and artistically nourishing.

Chaos storms in for the final act, which spends perhaps too much time on Cellach’s nightmare of invasion. More compelling is Brendan’s budding artistry, taking over the Book of Iona, giving the ornately designed pages a new purpose through his time in Kells. Suffering from a slight emotional frigidity as it sniffs out an ending, “The Secret of Kells” remains a feast for the eyes, breaking the stasis of the genre with an inspired tale, lovingly crafted by exceptional filmmakers.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=19273&reviewer=404
originally posted: 02/06/10 05:41:58
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 13th Annual European Union Film Festival For more in the 13th Annual European Union Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Traverse City Film Festival For more in the 2010 Traverse City Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/27/15 Feliks Mihelj Beautiful 5 stars
4/04/10 PAUL SHORTT GOOD LOOKING BUT ODDLY DETACHED 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  05-Mar-2010
  DVD: 05-Oct-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  05-Mar-2010


Directed by
  Tomm Moore
  Nora Twomey

Written by
  Tomm Moore
  Fabrice Ziolkowski

Cast
  Brendan Gleeson
  Liam Hourican
  Mick Lally



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast