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Set in a bizarrely anachronistic 19th century England, The Rook is a detective story that's closer to Kafka than Raymond Chandler. The antihero is the taciturn, Bible-reading John Abbott (Donovan), who is sent to investigate the mysterious death of a young woman in a country village. In the background, a secularist revolution aiming to separate Church from State is raging.
Never mind the intricate details of the plot, which are often ambiguous. The excellent work by Donovan accompanied by the fascinating production design offset the inevitable pitfalls of this daring (but also self-consciously anti-Hollywood) film debut.