Assassin’s Creed

Before I launch into negativity, this movie adaptation of the long-running video game series – which flips between the present and various locations in the past – does have a few things going for it: director Justin Kurzel has a strong, gloomy visual style – perhaps too strong – which seems to be a much more natural fit for this kind of material than his recent take on Macbeth; it’s not a million miles away from that developed by Zack Snyder, whose films tend to be… popular. And Kurzel does seem to have good casting agents working for him, as once again he has managed to get Michael Fassbender (playing a rebelling assassin) and Marion Cotillard on board, who both look committed while spurting out their lines from the script (which, it has to be said, is utter drivel). The same can be said for the various (wasted) notable supporting actors, which include a typecast, serious Jeremy Irons as a head of industry / Knights Templar bigwig, Charlotte Rampling as another serious and high ranking Templar, Ariane Labed and Michael K Williams as Fassbender’s serious fellow assassins and Brendan Gleeson as his serious father. Anyway, despite their collective furrowed brows Assassin’s Creed is a complete mess, and though the story is not impenetrable it will likely confuse many people who are unfamiliar with the games, as Kurzel never really manages to clearly explain the time-travelly business, how it has come to be possible, or why people are trying to achieve what they are trying to achieve (there’s some blather about control of free will that can be empowered by a golden apple, or something). Kurzel handles the running and jumping business quite well, and the sets are pretty good, but ultimately this a load of hairy old balls in a big, elaborately-decorated sack. (*½)