Foreign Film: Of Gods and Men

Of Gods and Men is a French film loosely based on true events of the life of the Cistercian Monks of Tibhirine, Algeria, spanning from 1993 until their kidnapping later that same year. Although the film did have some great shots of scenery, and the music and religious chanting the monks did while they prayed was enchanting, it was not enough to save this film from what it was, a dull, slow paced film that barely kept my attention.

The critics consensus on the website Rotten Tomatoes ( states that the film is “patient and restrained” and that “Of Gods and Men asks deep, profound questions that will linger in the audience’s mind long after the movie.”

I was patient throughout the entire film waiting for something interesting to happen. Sadly, all that seemed to happen through about three quarters of the film was people telling the monks they had to get to safety, and then the monks praying and talking about whether they should leave or not. It started to seem like they just took two scenes from the film and replayed them over and over again throughout the film. The first and last 15 minutes of the film are the only times these events did not happen.

The film was restrained, but to me it felt like it was too restrained. When you are dealing with a plot revolving around a group of monks being threatened to be captured by a group of terrorists, the viewers should see how much danger these monks are actually in. Instead, the only violence you see is a civilian with his throat slit, and you only hear random gunfire going off at random times, leaving you to assume that people are getting killed by it.

What they really should have done with this film is not make it into a feature film of two hours length, but made it more into a short film around 40 minutes. That way, they could have removed all of the repetitive scenes I mentioned earlier and it would not have dragged on as much as it did.

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