Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed ★★½

A film with so many jarring tones and that's it's tough to pin down why it doesn't work. Maybe it's the jumble of modern shooting and editing in these period segments, maybe it's the claustrophobia of the budget and the dreariness of that complex fighting against the open and rich nature of the games. Even the visual look of the film is double-edged; the smoke and dirt and colour tone blend the VFX more seamlessly but give the film an unknowable, intangible and otherworldly quality that doesn't feel right here.

One thing's for sure, the Animus is a very clever and very cool, more cinematic-feeling iteration, and the easter eggs and references are satisfying and fun. But therein lies one of the problems, this film is not fun and neither is anyone in it. After protagonists like Ezio and hell, even Arno, Connor seems like a regression right back to the stiff, stuffiness of the first game.

I love that in the period setting they speak appropriate languages, I love the setting itself (although it might have blown the Inquisition as a potential location for upcoming games) and I like that this wing of Abstergo can function as canon by sitting within the existing lore. And the film feels like a cool best-of, picking the co-op nature and broader assassin brotherhood of AC2 and Unity.

The plot is good, the adaptation strong, but maybe it's Justin Kurzel's direction and style that jars here. It's too po-faced and serious, muddy and jumps all over in pace and feel. It's too moody, too trailery, and too self-serious, despite being a noble attempt at making a serious video game movie, this franchise would have suited adventure, levity, expanse, culture, instead of a sterile and boxed-in snapshot of cool movie.