The Advocate

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In medieval France, young lawyer Richard Courtois leaves Paris for the simpler life in the country. However, he is soon drawn into amorous and political intrigues.

ACTORS :  Colin Firth, Amina Annabi, Jim Carter, Ian Holm

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1993

POSTAGE : Free postage within Australia

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The Advocate  In medieval France, young lawyer Richard Courtois leaves Paris for the simpler life in the country. However, he is soon drawn into amorous and political intrigues. At the same time, he is pushed to defend a pig, owned by the mysterious gypsy Samira. The pig has been arrested for the murder of a young boy. When murder is the motive, seduction is the last defense.

An under-appreciated gem with lots of attention to detail

 
The Advocate  I’m surprised this movie is so unknown! From the beginning, prepare to be impressed with the accurate visual detailing of mid fifteenth century France. I was wowed by the costumes, sets, and extras (who appear plucked straight from a period painting). The dialogue can be slightly convoluted at times, and a few of the characterizations felt slightly strained, but these are minor complaints. The movie, besides featuring a great understated performance by Colin Firth, also showcases a talented supporting cast. Ian Holm, who played Bilbo in the Lord of the Rings, is great as the knowledgeable priest. Jim Carter, as Firth’s right hand man, is a wonderful and versatile actor (check him out in Downton Abbey). And finally Nicol Williamson as the nobleman, who has many opportunities for over-acting, but instead crafts a believable character and carries off his role with brilliant understatement. The premise, that all the trials presented in the film are based on actual ‘crimes’, generates much interest in the plot and makes this movie more than worth watching!

Under-appreciated, rewarding film

 

This film deserves to be far better known. It’s clever, fun, and a terrific balance of successful Hollywood pacing with non-traditional, non-Hollywood storytelling.

Yes, it’s a historical murder mystery. But it’s a film about excess, as is the recent Marie Antoinette, but this one is darker and more substantive. The dialogue is sharp, often funny, and vaguely unsettling.

Like all good films, several elements work together. The photography, the costuming, the soundtrack, and the characterization all underscore the script’s emphasis on indulgence. It’s really very well done.

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