The Legend of the Holy Drinker


Dir: Ermanno Olmi
Star: Rutger Hauer, Anthony Quayle, Sandrine Dumas, Dominique Pinon

[3] Hauer should be well known to readers, for his performances as a psychopath in The Hitcher, a barely-controlled psychopath in Wanted: Dead or Alive and a psychopath (medieval variety) in Flesh and Blood. Although always near-perfect, he never seemed to be out of second gear which made the prospect of him playing a down-and-out an intriguing one. Set in Paris, he is given 200 francs by a mysterious stranger (Quayle) with the request to pay it back to a church when he can. Unfortunately, he keeps meeting figures from his past who distract him from this goal and gradually tell us about his earlier life. With no 'action' and almost no plot, the film relies heavily on Hauer, with him rarely being off the screen, so it's a good job he's up to the task. He seems very aware of the risk of over-acting, especially in a character of few words as he has here indeed, if anything he's too subtle, making the viewer concentrate to avoid missing the gestures and looks without which some scenes are meaningless. Olmi shows us a different side to Paris from that normally filmed, and overall, perhaps the best tribute is to say that from now on, when I see Rutger Hauer, I'll no longer automatically expect him to pull out a shot-gun and start blasting!

8/10


Drinking to be sociable
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