Sam Neill Update: Creepster Edition

I love when the three Sam Neill movies I watch seem to share a theme through no planning of my own! Unfortunately, today’s theme is skeevy creepsters.

Ivanhoe (1984)

1980s Medieval England was the best Medieval England

The Movie: A film version of the Sir Walter Scott novel of the same name, Ivanhoe returns from the Crusades only to be gravely wounded in a tournament which he still wins. His dad, a staunch Saxon lord, wants nothing to do with him because he’s a supporter of Norman King Richard, and so it falls to Isaac and Rebecca, the Jewish father-daughter team, to attend his wounds while his OTL Lady Rowena looks on. Then everyone goes on a field trip to York, but are captured along the way by Prince John’s jerky knights. One of them wants to marry Rowena, another seems to have a thing for Rebecca, and no one realizes the “injured old woman” is secretly Ivanhoe!

Also, one of them is John Rhys-Davies, seen here being pulled into a homoerotic bath

Luckily Robin Hood and King Richard in disguise rally the local peasants and storm the castle! Everyone lives happily ever after, except Rebecca who gets kidnapped by Brian de Bois-Guilbert, who’s totally a Templar, but still thinks he can run away with her to his chapter house without anyone minding. As an order not known for being all about women, they, of course, are not pleased, and immediately accuse her of Jewish witchcraft! Brian is forced to fight in trial by combat against her champion, Ivanhoe, who’s finally decided to do something besides lie around moaning. Of course, Ivanhoe wins, Brian dies, and everyone lives happily ever after. Oh, except Rebecca, who is clears in love with Ivanhoe, but can’t marry him because she’s not blonde enough. The narrator even tells us at the end that, though Ivanhoe married Rowena, he often thought of Rebecca.

Also, here's Isaac's hat. I thought you'd want to see it.

The Character: Since this is the creepster edition, you can probably guess already that Sam Neill is Brain de Bois-Guilbert, the Templar knight who is all about kidnapping Rebecca. He threatens to rape her at first, but then apologizes at the end of the conversation claiming he’s “not normally like this”.

Sexual assault is maybe not the best ice breaker

When the castle gets stormed, he escapes with her oddly easily, and seems genuinely upset when his fellow Templars put her on trial and threaten to burn her. He suggests they run away and get married in some distant land where he will “treat her like a princess”, but she refuses because he’s creepy and also not Jewish. Then he wants to fight as her champion but the other Templars forbid it. Unlike in the book (I think?), in this movie he’s allowed to redeem himself during his final battle with Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe is still pretty wounded and losing pathetically, until Sam Neill just opens his arms and lets him stab him in the chest.

While the Canadian KKK looked on

I like this version because it takes Ivanhoe’s one heroic act in the story, besides showing Isaac a shortcut through the woods in the beginning, and turns it into a Sam Neill heroic act instead. Go back to your bland WASPy lady, Ivanhoe. Snarky Robin Hood provides the best commentary for this scene:

"....... the F?"

What I Learned: Apparently this book created a lot of the elements of the typical Robin Hood legends we know today!

You should watch this if you like: Medieval period pieces where everyone has 80s hair

Doctor Zhivago (2002 TV movie)

Full disclosure: I did not get through this ridiculously long drama. I watched maybe four and a half hours over a two day period before giving up in despair. Russian literature often overwhelms me for being just too bleak and filled with crushing lack of character agency, so I guess that’s not really a surprise.

For some reason the cover flaunts "6 HOURS!" like it's a good thing

The Movie: Yuri’s dad jumps out of a moving train because he’s so in debt so Yuri is sent to live with his… relatives? At least I think they are until Yuri grows up and totes marries the daughter he was raised beside like a sibling, so maybe they are just creepy family friends? Anyway, Yuri trains to become a doctor and one night is called to assist a woman who has poisoned herself because her lover is not-so-secretly in love with her teenage daughter, Keira Knightley. Yuri naturally falls in love with Keira Knightley, but knows their love can never be because he also sees her being creepily hit on by the much older Viktor. Later he meets her again when he’s a WWI doctor and she’s a nurse, and they have a sort of weird not-quite love affair, before he goes home to find communists have taken over his house. He gets in trouble at his new job at the hospital for saying that there’s a Yellow Fever epidemic, even though there totally is, and his family decides to move to the less dangerous Ural Mountains where his wife’s family has an old shack. Conveniently, near the same town Keira Knightley is now living in! On the way, they befriend a doomed urchin boy and meet Keira Knightley’s ex-husband, who has become an embittered, emotionless communist after discovering his wife’s creepy affair/feelings for Viktor. Everyone looks miserable and the movie beats you over the head with how cruel the world is and how powerless all the characters are. I really tried to continue, but the combination of the bleak historical accuracy, Keira Knightley’s pinchy lips, and Sam Neill’s disappearance after the first 2 hours broke my spirit. I can only assume the hour and a half I didn’t get to contain more of the same. Maybe Sam Neill comes back at some point.

Another common theme of today is ridic hats, apparently

The Character: Sam Neil is Viktor Komarovsky, Keira Knightley’s mom’s lover and also the guy whom Yuri’s dad owed all that money to, leading to his suicide! Russia’s a small world.

We meet again, Mustache Sam

Viktor is a sketchball who somehow convinces Keira Knightley’s delusional mother that he just wants to buy Keira a fancy dress and take her out alone because it’s her birthday. Every time Keira Knightley tells him she doesn’t want to see him anymore, he tells her she doesn’t know what she wants and that “we are the same”. She eventually marries Pasha to get away from him, but when she tells Pasha about her experience and he’s like “Well… you didn’t have a choice”, she starts weirdly defending him, “It wasn’t like that, you don’t understand.”

Stockholm Syndrome much?

Keira Knightley also once tells Mustache Sam that he’ll be the first one up against the wall when the communist revolution comes, but he just laughs at her and says the new regime will also find him rich, powerful, and useful, which, according to a brief skim of Wikipedia about the ending of the book, is pretty much accurate. Sorry, Sam Neill. I wish I could have held on long enough to see your return to this ridiculously long movie, but there are some things even my oddly intense devotion to this blog project won’t justify. You understand, right? I’m pretty sure even you have never sat through more than the first half of Merlin’s Apprentice.

What I Learned: Apparently you can just learn nursing “as you go along”; Bolsheviks hated poetry

You should watch this if you like: really really really really really really long historical Russian melodramas; the fundamental powerlessness of humanity

Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983 TV miniseries)

And you’re going to think the theme of this post is also “slacking” because I only watched the first episode of this show. Whatever, you guys, there are like 12 of them, and if I am going to watch the complete run of any Sam Neill TV show, we all know I’m starting with “Hot Guys Without Shirts“.

Oh, Sam Neill! You know how proud I am whenever you make it onto the cover of anything

The Movie: Sidney Reilly was the real life person whom James Bond is based on! A lot of his life is “shrouded in legend” because he was “a master of deception”. I’m serious, sometimes Wikipedia just can’t help itself. In this first episode (titled “An Affair with a Married Woman”), Reilly is trying to get out of the Russian Empire at the turn of the last century with a secret report about oil or something. But the Russians suspect him and detain him near the border, along with a crabby old Reverend Thomas and his dissatisfied young wife. Natch Reilly immediately starts flirting with Mrs. Thomas, then asks her to come to his room in the night as a decoy for his escape attempt, promising to be “waiting for her” when they both make it back to England. LULZ JK you will be detained in Russian prison for months. Then the British Secret Intelligence Service claim to not know who Reilly is and there’s a huge scandal about Mrs. Thomas maybe sleeping with him FOR ENGLAND under false pretenses. Then he shows up to the press conference they are having about it and is like “lolol u guys r such jokesters of corse u know me EPIC LULZ ON U MRS. T-MAS!”

I'm sorry, something about this cocky grin makes me think in ironic Internet speak

Then when they’re alone he’s basically like “Well, we might as well do it. Your husband’s so old you’re probably going to be a rich widow soon.” She flounces off angry, and Sam Neill discovers someone in the SIS has murdered his favorite prostitute! Also there’s some kind of secret OTHER oil report! Eventually he catches the killer and everyone loves him again, including Mrs. Thomas who totes marries him when her husband dies. What?

Good thing my hate turned to love just in time, as per romantic comedy rules!

The Character: Of course Sam Neill is Reilly: Ace of Spies! Unlike the other entries on this list, his creepsterhood in this show is portrayed as more of a cheeky player. You know, just like James Bond. Though he’s upset about the death of his favorite prostitute Rose, and does try to figure out who killed her, he gets over it quick enough to flash that smirky little grin at Mrs. Thomas. They’re just women, right? Uggggggh.

What I Learned: You shouldn’t milk your cows if you’re “expecting” an earthquake (how does that work?) because the milk will just go bad during it

You should watch this if you like: more historically accurate James Bond; smirky little grins

Previously: Ruthless Businessman, Ex-Prison Guard, Sad Husband
Next: Dad Edition

4 responses to “Sam Neill Update: Creepster Edition”

  1. […] Previously: Rebel, Soldier, Godfather Next: Creepster Edition […]

  2. Steven says:

    I have only one thing to say about Ivanhoe and the amazing hat, and that is Jewnicorn!

  3. Brian says:

    Speaking as a fan of the original Doctor Zhivago movie: aaa!! There’s a remake with Sam Neill and Keira Knightley? That’s just messed up. Fun fact: the original movie was ONLY 3 hours and 17 minutes long.

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