DAY OF WRATH. 2006. Christopher Lambert, Brian Blessed, Blanca Marsillach, Szonja Oroszlán, James Faulkner, Phillida Law. Written and directed by Adrian Rudomin.

    “There are some mysteries that should not be uncovered… Stop searching … The Devil may appear in your past.”


    This has nothing to do with the classic Carl Theodor Dreyer film Der Vredens Tag (1943), but instead is a Hungarian production that’s set in Spain of 1542, fifty years into the Inquisition and its terrors.

   Taking place in a world of opulence and degradation and the excesses of religious zealotry, the film is supposedly based on a true story.

    Lambert plays Ruy de Mendoza, a minor noble, and the newly appointed sheriff of a Spanish province, who finds his life and that of his family at risk when he refuses to ignore a murder on his watch.

    Despite efforts by everyone, including the governor, Lord Francisco del Ruiz (Brian Blessed) to the head of the Inquisition Friar Anselmo (James Faulkner) to keep a conspiracy of silence, Mendoza pushes forward in his investigation.


    In the world of Spain during the Inquisition, birthright was everything, and the slightest taint of Jewish blood was a ticket to financial ruin, torture, and a heretic’s death by fire.

    As Mendoza delves into the mystery, he begins to uncover secrets he should not know and a conspiracy among the leader of the local Inquisition to extort money from noble families with the Jewish taint — including the newly appointed and vainglorious governor, but the truth is darker and more complex than mere religious persecution and zeal.

    A series of murders with the letters D R (for the Latin Day of Wrath) carved into the victims is related to these secrets, and massive keys left on the bodies are part of the answer.

    Finally Mendoza has to put his duty and his family against his blood and his honor in order to survive.


    This is an attractive film, and the story is fascinating, but the script is disjointed and despite some interesting touches (at one point Lambert uses an early form of ballistics to identify a bullet used in a murder), it doesn’t hold together.

    Day of Wrath is a decent time passer, a B movie at heart, with a few “A” touches in costuming and set decoration.

    There is a bit of nice swordplay, a hint of sex, and a masked killer in black and silver, but a better script and direction would have been more helpful in dealing with a conspiracy this complex and with problems this dark.

    The movie ends in a blood bath and a new conspiracy with Lambert’s Mendoza at its head, as it only could, but you have to wish a surer hand had been at the helm. Even with its flaws, there is a good idea here. It just lacks the skilled input needed to develop it fully.

    And I couldn’t help but think while watching it, it might have made a better novel than movie. A little structure would have been a major improvement.