Bold and original, if a little morose, video game adaptation with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard Discuss this article
Gamers will know exactly what Assassin’s Creed is; everyone else will need a little introduction to this solemn, brutal adaptation of the huge-selling computer game. Offering more than its fair share of head-scratching moments, it stars Michael Fassbender as a time-hopping member of the secret “Assassins” organisation.
The freestyle plundering of medieval history is a little bit like The Da Vinci Code. But as we hop between Madrid, London and Texas in 2016 and Andalusia in 1492 (with a stop in 1986 California) this is darker, more straight-faced and humour-free territory than Dan Brown. A collision between moody, smoky swords-and-daggers fantasy and sleek-lined modern-day sci-fi, the overall dimension-shattering vibe is more The Matrix.
We meet Fassbender in two time periods. In 1492, he’s an assassin set on forcing the ruling sultan (Khalid Abdalla) into submission. In 2016, he’s a convicted criminal, Callum Lynch, rescued from the jaws of execution by a shadowy, Madrid-based scientific organisation run by Sofia (Marion Cotillard) and her father (Jeremy Irons). Where Assassin’s Creed demands full attention is the concept of “DNA memory” that links both periods. We watch as Callum essentially plays a virtual-reality experience, controlling himself in the past, while in the wings
Sofia and Rikkin play out their own power games.
The film reunites Fassbender, Cotillard and director Justin Kurzel, who worked together on 2015’s Macbeth. Common to both movies is a brooding atmosphere and a bone-crushing, unsentimental approach to action and violence.
The relentless gloom can feel oppressive, but there’s plenty of ambition here, especially in the layered storytelling and woozy sense of time and place, with plenty of soaring aerial shots that nod quietly to the all-seeing eye of a computer game.
The bottom line
Bold and original, if a little morose.
Time Out Doha,