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The Secret of Kells

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Videos & Photos

  • Trailer for this animated fantasy film
  • Clip: Barbarians attack

Movie Info & Cast

Synopsis

Young Brendan lives in the Abbey of Kells, a remote medieval outpost under siege from raiding barbarians. One day a celebrated master illuminator arrives from foreign lands carrying an ancient but unfinished book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the enchanted forest, where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the fairy Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him along the way. But with the barbarians closing in, will Brendan's determination and artistic vision illuminate the darkness and show that enlightenment is the best fortification against evil?

Cast

  • Evan McGuire
  • Christen Mooney
  • Brendan Gleeson
  • Mick Lally
  • Liam Hourican
  • Paul Tylak
  • Michael McGrath
  • Paul Young
  • Nora Twomey
  • Alli McCann

Did You Know?

Trivia

  • Although the characters, fantasy elements, and plot specifics of this movie are fictional, there is a real "Book of Kells", an illuminated, heavily illustrated rendering of the Four Gospels of the Christian bible, that dates from the Early Medieval period (probably the early Eighth Century) in Ireland. The best historical and archaeological evidence suggests that, starting shortly after it was finished, the book was moved several times (including, as depicted in the movie, during an Viking invasion) and lost for various periods. It has been housed at the library of Trinity College, Dublin, since the Seventeenth Century, and is considered perhaps the single most valuable cultural artifact of Irish History that has ever been discovered. Some of the design concepts for the movie echo aspects of the original Book of Kells; for instance, the shapes of the repeated tree patterns as Brendan enters the forest are quite similar to the arrangement and shapes of the columns and arches in the "Eusebian Canons, Folio 5R" page of the real book.
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Quotes

    • Brendan: You can't find out everything from books, you know.
    • Aidan: I think I read that once.
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Atom User Reviews

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Metacritic

80

Kells proves that in the increasingly high-tech world of feature animation, there still can be a place for old-time tradition.

Metacritic review by Michael Rechtshaffen
Michael Rechtshaffen
The Hollywood Reporter
85

There's something kind of captivating about a film that's been painstakingly drawn to glorify the craft of illustration, and that's comfortable using retro techniques. Because after all, what else makes sense for bringing to life the gold and scarlet ornamentation in ancient manuscripts?

Metacritic review by Bob Mondello
Bob Mondello
NPR
88

Quite unlike anything I've ever seen before.

Metacritic review by Lou Lumenick
Lou Lumenick
New York Post