Stars: François Arnaud, Ana Ularu, Jordi Mollà, Attila Árpa, Mark Ivanir, Linc Hand, Isabel García Lorca, Emanuela Postacchini, Theo Alexander, Péter Fancsikai, Federico Galavis | Written and Directed by Balazs Juszt
There is a traditional view of a priest, and they purity they are meant to represent to the people who put their faith in them. What happens though when a priest begins to lose his faith, not only in the Church and God, but in himself? The Man Who Was Thursday is a movie that takes a look at that question, though it may come short of actually answering it.
When a priest (François Arnaud) gives in to sin, and has a fall from grace, he ends up in Rome with a chance of redemption. Going undercover to infiltrate an underworld group of anarchic renegades he finds himself being seduced by their mission against the Church. Taking the name of Thursday, he must find the leader of the group, but will Sunday ever reveal his true self?
The Man Who Was Thursday opens up many doors with the story that it brings to the audience, but it never really makes it through them. It is a film designed to confuse, and to make raise many thoughts on just what is going on, in fact it may have a few too many twists for some. What I found with the film was that you had to pay close attention to exactly what is going on. Using a style of story-telling that not only gives glimpses to the future, but also uses the past to push ideas onto the screen, there is a lot to consider. There is not only the metaphysical nature of the plot, but also what we have to take as the literal, and what is purely there to confuse the audience.
This confusing plot style is what I believe will make The Man Who Was Thursday a hard film to watch for some. The juxtaposition of a plot in modern times with one set in World War 2 feels like it is something that needs more explaining, but in truth there is a confidence in the audience that they will understand what is going on. As the film reached its conclusion, I did have a good idea of where it was going, and to a point I was correct, but with an ending that didn’t meet with what I expected, it became a much more interesting movie.
François Arnaud plays the part of the man fallen from grace well, as does Ana Ularu as Saturday, the woman who appears to have all the answers. In fact, it is hard to really find fault with the acting in the film. If anything, it is the nature of the story itself which can sometimes make the film hard going, and as I found the ending just leaves a certain aspect open that I wanted to see.
While The Man Who Was Thursday does have its faults, its most important triumph is that it is thought-provoking. Like me, you don’t have to be a religious person to understand the ideas the film is conveying to the audience, it is all easy to understand. Just be ready for a plot that wants to confuse the audience, rather than lay a simple path out to the conclusion. If you like to have your mind tested, then this film may be for you.