persian lessons.jpg
the wheel of time

★★★

directors: Vadim Perelman (house of sand and fog)
starring: nahuel perez, lars eidinger, leonie benesch and jonas nay

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

A young Jewish man pretends to be Iranian to avoid being executed in a concentration camp.

Rosamund Pike has to be one of the most underrated actresses working in Hollywood today. From her cinematic breakout performance as a Bond girl in Die Another Day to Pride and Prejudice and Gone Girl with one of the best performances in 2021 in the deliciously dark yet superb I Care A Lot (catch it on Amazon Prime), Pike has cemented herself as one of the best in the business. 

 

And she doesn’t disappoint here. While not quite managing to match the sprawling, interwoven plotting of Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time is still worth a watch with a tour de force performance from Pike.

 

Based on the best-selling book series, The Wheel of Time is set in a sprawling, epic world where magic exists and only certain women are allowed to access it. The story follows Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), a member of the incredibly powerful all-female organization called the Aes Sedai, as she arrives in the small town of Two Rivers. There, she embarks on a dangerous, world-spanning journey with five young men and women, one of whom is prophesied to be the Dragon Reborn, who will either save or destroy humanity.   

 

The Wheel of Time is fantasy at its purest. From spells, gifts, prophecies, and fantastical creatures, it ticks nearly every box. There is plenty to unpack here, even in the first episode alone, and it does more than enough to hook you in for the next episode. 

 

But where The Wheel of Time falters compared with its HBO cousin Game of Thrones is pacing. Narratively it feels as if it’s trying to stuff far too much detail and character development in without doing enough groundwork. 

 

Because the suspension of belief is that much greater for the audience when it comes to a fantasy tale, the background and human details mean so much more. That’s one of the many keys to Game of Thrones success. 

 

That being said there is still plenty to like here from the world-building, the mysterious subject of the prophecy, and the young cast. But this is Rosamund Pike’s show and gives a performance filled with charisma and necessary gravitas. 

While not quite managing to match the sprawling, interwoven plotting of Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time is still worth a watch with a tour de force performance from Pike.

★★★