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J.R.R Tolkien was an English writer, poet and philologist whose works The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings became two of the most read books in the world, regarded by many as literary masterpieces.

This biopic traces his earlier life, the tragedies and the ‘non-respectful background’ from which he came from until his dying mother left his future in the hands of a priest, his legal guardian until the age of 21.

Detailed are the events in his life which propelled him to write these fantasy novels. From an early age, his passion for reading and writing was evident as was his passion for drawing dragons.

Tolkien’s story is told in a non-linear style, his childhood, the brotherhood that he formed with some school friends which ultimately shaped his future and his experiences on the battlefields in World War I.

This stylish production boasts mesmerising cinematography and the meticulous and faultless recreation of a bygone era. However, in all its grandeur, this arthouse film fails to live up to expectations owing to an excruciatingly slow-moving script which succeeds in arousing disinterest and restlessness.

The film’s lacklustre performance overseas highlights that even ardent fans aren’t interested in Tolkien’s early life or what led him to write these books – another rehashed Lord Of The Rings film would have generated much more fanfare. (MMo)

★★ ½