Saturday, 8 January 2011

Season of the Witch

Year: 2010
Director: Dominic Sena
Screenplay: Bragi F. Schut
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Claire Foy, Robert Sheehan, Ulrich Thomsen, Stephen Graham, Christopher Lee
Running Time: 98 minutes
Genre: Period, action, adventure, horror

Summary: In the 14th Century, two knights fighting in the Crusades, Behman (Cage) and Felson (Perlman), are sickened by the slaughter of innocent people, including women and children, and so decide to leave. Returning home to Europe as deserters, they find their homeland ravaged by the Black Death. Arriving in a town, they are soon arrested, but are offered a pardon if they agree to help transport a young woman (Foy) accused of witchcraft, and who the town's priests believe caused the Black Death by sorcery. The knights are to take her on a dangerous six day journey to a remote monastery where she is to be put on trial and where it is believed the monks will be able to undo her magic. They are accompanied by a third knight (Thomsen), a priest (Moore), an altar boy who wants to become a knight (Sheehan) and a convicted swindler (Graham) who is to serve as a guide. As they embark on their already perilous journey, they soon disover that, despite being bound in chains and held in a cage, their prisoner is not as defenceless as she appears.

Opinions: This movie blends road movie, buddy movie, supernatural horror and medieval action-adventure. However, it is less than successful. Nicolas Cage is not a bad actor at all, he can be very good, but he is annoyingly inconsistent, and it is fair to say that he has made more than his share of turkeys. Certainly he does not convince as a fourteenth century knight. Ron Perlman, however, is impressive as his fellow knight, who provides the film with much needed screen presence and intentional humour. Claire Foy, best known from the BBC television version of Little Dorrit (2008), is impressive as the accused woman, managing to appear both innocent and sinister. In fact, it is a real pity that she is not given more to do.
Visually, it ranges from beign quite good, to some truly horrendous special effects. The producton design is quite effective though and the senes shot on location look good.
The script is very silly in places, and it is not particularly scary. However, there is enough action, and both intentional and unintentional humour, to keep up the interest. The movie will probably become a cult film in the future and is probably best checked out when it is shown on late night TV.

Nicolas Cage in Season of the Witch

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