The Navigator is remarkable because of its absorbing story that links medieval fears and fortunes to our times, while confirming director Vincent Ward as an original talent.
The story begins in Cumbria in 1348, the year of the Black Death. Young Griffin (Hamish McFarlane) is anxious for the return of his beloved, much-older brother Connor (Bruce Lyons) from the outside world. He is haunted by a dream about a journey, a quest to a great cathedral in a celestial city, and a figure about to fall from a steeple.
When his brother returns to the village with tales of impending doom, the two brothers, with four comrades, set out on the journey fired by Griffin’s prophetic dream. It takes them to a city of the late 1980s and on a mission against time if their village is to be saved.
The formidable skills of Ward are shown in the way his story works, not only as adventure, but as the love story of two brothers and a parable of faith and religion.
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Geoffrey Simpson’s photography – stark black and white for the Cumbrian sequences, color for the enactment of Griffin’s dream and visions – is of the highest order, with score by Iranian composer Davood Tabrizi (domiciled in Sydney) empathetic with the whole.