For some reason, I have always been fascinated with films and literature that turn a critical eye towards the darker side of organized religion. Maybe it was the eight years I spent in Catholic school. Who knows. Regardless, The Name of the Rose is an intellectually stimulating commentary on the beliefs of the Catholic Church during the Inquisition.
Sean Connery portrays William or Baskerville, a Franciscan friar with an insatiable hunger for knowledge. Along with his apprentice, Adso (Christian Slater), William journeys to a Benedictine abbey. Upon their arrival, they learn that a young monk has recently died. The others fear the presence of a daemon, possibly the antichrist. This suspicion only grows as other monks are found dead over the next few weeks. However, William is convinced that there must be a more logical explanation.
While the film is primarily a murder mystery, it also explores the discord within the church during the 14th century. The Name of the Rose examines the various ways the church dealt with the relationship between knowledge and faith. Likewise, it investigates the different beliefs of the mendicant Franciscan friars and more moderate Benedictine monks.
To a certain extent, these are issues that religions are still confronted with today. Like any other institution, there will always be a level of internal conflict within organized relgion. Because of this, films like The Name of the Rose are timeless.
The Name of the Rose by Umerto Eco