For an adaptation such as this, the stonefaced take is bold and offers the film respectability and weight. Heavily influenced by his own last outing, Macbeth, Justin Kurzel sticks to his strengths as a director: unsentimental violence and broody atmosphere. Better still, he re-teams with Adam Arkapaw, whose exquisite aerial shots, action photography, and dark red palette provide Assassin’s Creed with an integrity other videogame adaptations couldn’t buy, beg or steal. Yet it would be foolish to believe that Macbeth thrived because of just this. It had a good story, something Kurzel’s latest does not.
Funnily enough, Assassin’s Creed holds similar traits to its (sort of) namesake Creed. It takes a prospect, heavy with baggage, evolving it into something completely new with a fresh voice. Yet while Creed landed every punch it threw, Assassin’s Creed suffers from several storytelling hiccups.
For when navigating a rather hokum narrative, the lack of flexibility in humour and lightness can create a relentless gloom. If you’re not on board, the two-hour running-time is a dull and unpleasant experience. It doesn’t help either that there’s a dream cast being wasted in miniature roles; Michael K. Williams, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling have a combined showing of 15 minutes, which is downright unlawful. It’s a shame too that they’re all working with a narrative so weak and lifeless that it soon evaporates from the mind.
Michael Fassbender, no stranger to blockbusters, is a noble lead but even he can’t break the videogame curse.
The ambition shown by Kurzel and Arkapaw elevates the project to a higher level but it can be a rather oppressive experience. It seems oddly patronising to describe this as the best videogame adaptation of all time, but it’s true. How you take that praise is how you’ll take the film.
CAST: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Michael K. Williams, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Denis Ménochet
DIRECTOR: Justin Kurzel
WRITERS: Michael Leslie, Bill Collage, Adam Cooper
SYNOPSIS: When Callum Lynch (Fassbender) explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society.