The Mill and the Cross
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What would it be like to step inside a great work of art, have it come alive around you, and even observe the artist as he sketches the very reality you are experiencing? Lech Majewski brings to life Pieter Bruegel's masterpiece The Way to Calvary, the story of the crucifixion, setting it in 16th century Flanders under brutal Spanish occupation. Rutger Hauer plays the artist, Michael York his patron, and Charlotte Rampling the Virgin Mary. As epic events unfold, bawdy country living continues unabated: couples entwine, musicians play wind instruments, soldiers torment their enemies… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"We almost feel that we ourselves have accomplished something just by being around while Bruegel doodled."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"The Mill & the Cross invites us to inhabit a work of art along with the mind of the man who made it and to be enthralled by the images shared in vivid tableaux by visionary Polish director Lech Majewski."
‑ Linda Barnard, Toronto Star
"The Mill and the Cross provides a sort of stoner's take on Bruegel's masterpiece, if the stoner happens to be a scholar with expertise in the work of the genius painter."
‑ Dan Jardine, Cinemania
"While there are some interesting visuals, the lack of story and emotion doom this film."
‑ Jeff Bayer, The Scorecard Review
"It's easy to imagine that some folks will find the film rapturous, but it's equally clear that there are others whom it will drive crazy."
‑ Shawn Levy, Oregonian
""The Mill and the Cross" might not be perfect, but it's stimulating, hypnotic and, in its unique way, exciting."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"What hangs before us is so striking, beautiful, strange, vast, horrifying, ethereal, lifelike - so alive - that we're desperate to enter the other side of the canvas, to be inside the painting."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"Both painting and film are brought to vivid, extraordinary life by the power of the artist's will: This is Intelligent Design we can believe in."
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"The Mill and the Cross is visually transporting, a painterly undertaking in every sense of the word. It's a neat case of a contemporary art form conveying to an audience what the painting itself might have conveyed to its viewers hundreds of years ago."
‑ Liz Braun, Jam! Movies
"André Bazin wrote about the mission of art to rescue the world from transience and corruption … I don't know if I've ever seen this idea more resoundingly affirmed."
‑ Steven D. Greydanus, Christianity Today
"The Mill and the Cross may thrill you. But be prepared for a fight. Twenty minutes in, your companion may throw up his or her arms and complain, "This is like watching a painting dry.""
‑ Stephen Cole, Globe and Mail
"If you see no more than the opening shots, you will never forget them."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Visually, it's a lavish dreamscape. But come prepared. This immersive and mostly nonverbal art tour of history could lead to an evening of regret."
‑ Jeff Meyers, Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
""The Mill and the Cross" is a true cinematic oddity."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Hauer is OK as Bruegel, but Charlotte Rampling is weird as the painting's Virgin Mary and, in a mostly non-verbal story, she's burdened by some excruciatingly gushy voiceovers ."
‑ Gerald Peary, Boston Phoenix
More reviews for The Mill and the Cross on Rotten Tomatoes