The Dovekeepers full movie review - A beautiful story with an equally beautiful cast
When I first heard that Revka was left out of this story, I was slightly disappointed having read the book by Alice Hoffman beforehand, but after watching only a few minutes o
f Night One it became clear that this mini-series is only inspired by the book, and although it has all other leading characters, Shirah, Aziza and Yael it does not follow the same pattern.
Night One begins with Shirah (Cote de Pablo) and shortly after Yael (Rachel Brosnahan) being interrogated by Josephus (Sam Neill). As the plot unfolds it soon becomes clear that Shirah and Yael are the only survivors remaining in Masada, and they are there to tell their story to Josephus who in exchange for the truth will grant them their life. As they begin relating each of their stories and describing how they entwine we are introduced to the other characters.
Yael describes the turbulent relationship she always had with her father Joseph Bar Elhanan (Manuel Cauchi), for causing the death of her own mother at birth. This is were we see the connection between a young Yael (Maia Attard) and Shirah, who is hired as her nursemaid. We then get a glimpse of Shirah's love interest, Eleazar Ben Ya'ir (Mido Hamada) who is married to another woman. Having committed adultery, Shirah who is pregnant with Eleazar's child is cast out of Jerusalem and sent to the desert to die.
Next we are introduced to Amram (Diego Boneta) who is Yael's brother. Yael describes how Amram together with another few warriors initiate an attack on the Romans who are trying to invade Jerusalem. The Romans rebel and at Flavius' (Sam Hazeldine) command begin killing all the jews. Yael and her father, who are soon followed by a large crowd decide to flee from Jerusalem which is now up in flames.
Shirah recounts how Sa'adallos (Andrei Claude), a wealthy and strong man from Moab saved her and the child, Aziza (Kathryn Prescott) after she was exiled. Sa'adallos married her and raised her child, Aziza as his own. Although later Shirah and Sa'adallos have a son together, Adir (Andre Agius), Sa'adallos decides to train Aziza to be an able warrior like himself. Despite of all the good that Sa'adallos has done, for which Shirah claims she was grateful,she decides to escape from the Moabite village, and together with Aziza and Adir returns to Jerusalem, believing that her fate is to be with Eleazar. Along their journey we discover that Aziza is in fact a girl, who has been disguised as a boy by her mother in order to protect her.
Meanwhile, Yael and her father continue their journey towards Masada, where they will reunite with Amram. Along the way a one of Amram's fellow Sicarii, Jachim Ben Simon (Luke Roberts) who is married to an older and frail looking woman, Sia (Marama Corlett) initiates a passionate affair with Yael.
Finally Yael and Josef arrive in Masada and are greeted by Amram. Shirah, Aziza and Yael begin working together in the Dovecote. An intimate relationship develops between Amram and Aziza, which Shirah disapproves of, while Yael seems to fall in love with a slave (Diarmaid Murtagh) named Wynn who is held captive in Masada.
As the Tenth Legion approaches and set camp right outside Masada, fear begins to spread amongst all the people. It becomes evident that the Romans are now too powerful to defeat, and rather than retreating and becoming slaves to the Romans, Eleazar orders a mass suicide.
This is a great story about love, betrayal, courage and fear, with a cast that is diverse and interesting to watch. The editing and SFX is impressive. The acting is also very good.
In the last scene, when their story reaches a climax, Shirah and Yael are set free by Josephus. Even before the credits begin rolling, I could only wonder where Shirah might go and what she will do, now that all the people in her life are dead, all except Sa'adallos actually, as I can only assume that Adir's life wasn't spared. Would she go back to Sa'adallos after what she did? That would be an interesting sequel to watch.