The Mill and the Cross
The Mill and the Cross is difficult to review because unlike anything that you’ve seen before, it stars Rutger Hauer as Peter Bruegel, and Michael York as his patron. Charlotte Rampling plays Mary, the mother of Christ, by deconstructing Bruegel’s painting On the Road to Calvary. But it sets it in the Flemish countryside with the Spaniards, instead of in the Holy Land — and the Spanish inquisition sitting in for the Roman soldiers. It’s a little hard to follow if you don’t know the painting very well, but visually it’s just stunning. The lighting is unbelievable and it really does explain the painting if you’re a Bruegel fan or if you’re an art fan. It’s also good to see Michael York on the screen again. The idea is that the painting is kind of like the spider’s web in that it has an axis and everything comes out from that, and Rutger Hauer as Bruegel actually explains the painting and the fact that the most important figure, of which is Christ, is really hidden. It’s an extraordinary piece of something — of art history or of art and visually it’s stunning. As a movie, I don’t know. I think it’s going to do very well on DVD and if you’re an art historian or an art fan or a Bruegel fan or just love images, this would be one. You know in the old days we used to call this a “let’s get high and watch a movie” movie, because there’s really not a plot per se, but the images are just stunning. For what it is, it’s really hard to evaluate, but as a piece of art history it’s off the charts- five stars. Watching it in the theater, it’s probably one or two stars, so I’ll give it three and a half stars.