An embarrassing, bad taste period drama with dialogue and acting that borders on parody — being pretty is its only upside.
Wagner de Assis’s Kardec tells the story of Allen Kardec, who in the 19th Century codified books — compilations of questions and apparent answers — that defined the Spiritist doctrine, a complex and provocative spiritualist movement that had its origins in mid-1800s Catholic France. To say it isn’t very good would be an understatement.
It looks good, at least. The film’s characters are elegantly dressed in period attire and 19th Century France is assembled with a great deal of flourish and attention to detail; Kardec is a handsome film, no doubt about that. This, however, is the nicest thing that can be said about a film that is otherwise stocked exclusively by ridiculous caricatures who communicate in mouths of badly-written dialogue bordering on parody. The delivery is that of amateurs reading aloud directly from the script; you could easily imagine it being held in front of them.
The woeful misdirection of Kardec only works to reinforce how incapably it handles the subject matter and patronizes its audience. There will doubtlessly be those deeply offended by its treatment of Spiritist doctrine, though there will also be those like me who are offended enough by the filmmaking.