18 January 2012

21 Jan - "In God's name he took up the sword"

Black Death (2010)
dir. Christopher Smith

Eddie Redmayne
David Warner (Titanic, 1997)
Kimberley Nixon (Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, 2008)
Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2003)
Johnny Harris (War Horse, 2011)
John Lynch (The Secret Garden, 1993)
Tim McInnerny (101 Dalmations, 1996)
Carice van Houten (Repo Men, 2010)

In a lot of ways this movie was a lot like an inferior version of The 13th Warrior. The character is a less-than-enthusiastic monk who joins a bunch of religous knights on a witchhunt so he can actually ditch the monastery and run away with his girlfriend. Also, everyone's dying of the plauge. But when he reaches the rendevous point there's blood everywhere and it's presumed that his fair lady is deceased (except we all know that on TV and in the movies, no one is ever dead until you see a body). When they reach the bewitched village the necromancer apparently raises the monk's girlfriend from the dead and then there's a lot of quibbling about whether being Christian is actually helping anybody out or not, the nature of the plague as a divine retribution, and whether or not someone can be tortured into a believer. Sean Bean is drawn and quartered, it's pretty gross.

At first I thought the movie was becoming a sort of liberalist rant against organizaed religion (you know how they do!), but then the pagans turned into some real nasty jerks as well, so perhaps the critique is actually of a more generalized zeal. Can we trust anything you say when your actions are so shamelessly inhumane?

The witch turns out to be a charlatan, and the monk becomes a murderer when he thinks his GF has become zombified. When he discovers how he has been decieved, he goes sort of crazy and becomes a replacement for Sean Bean's ruthless character, but maybe worse. So is he driven by religious fervor, or just hate?

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