Sean Bean is awesome, he brings such a visceral presence to everything he does. The latest film I've seen of his, Black Death is no exception.
Set in the midst of the black plague sweeping over Europe, rumors of a village that is free of the affliction set in motion an investigation. Osmund, a monk with his own motivations, offers to lead Ulric (Bean) to the village through the marsh.
He finds out along the way that Ulric isn't on a mercy mission or investigation so much as a witch hunt. Word is that a necromancer leads the village in question. We have a few bizarre intrigues along the way as well as a ambush battle.
There are a number of twists and surprise betrayals but nothing that I as a writer and critic didn't see coming.
In a way I felt the movie couldn't quite make up its mind what it wanted to be. There isn't quite enough action to call it an action movie. I wouldn't call it a horror despite a few thrilling moments and the dichotomy of the Christians as liars, fanatical and harsh was held against the pagans who were equally so-the biggest surprise for me was that at first I was expecting the message to be how much better the pagan way of life was-but it wasn't-they were cruel, fanatical liars too.
Maybe the filmakers wanted us to come up with our own answers on WHY- not unlike my recent review of The Bridge if San Luis Rey except this would be more akin to why do bad things happen to bad people than the latter? The ending especially makes you wonder.
Where the movie wins is its realistic portrayal of the grim plague afflicted land. The chaos and brutality of an age on the cusp of enlightenment...but not yet.
IF BLACK DEATH and SEASON OF THE WITCH could have been merged, say eliminate Nick Cage altogether and replace him with Bean = teamed with Perlman, and find that balance between two vaguely similar story lines we could have had a classic. Instead this is just all right - worth a watch once IF you already thought maybe this was a movie for you.
David J. West writes dark fantasy and weird
westerns because the voices in his head won’t quiet until someone else can hear
them. He is a great fan of sword & sorcery, ghosts and lost ruins, so of
course he lives in Utah in with his wife and children.
The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie This Crooked Way, by James Enge The Arabian Nightmare, by Robert Irwin The Darkeness that Comes Before, by R. Scott Bakker Tides of War, by Steven Pressfield Night of Knives, by Ian C. Esselmont The Pirate King, by R. A. Salvatore Deadhouse Gates, by Steven Erikson El Borak, by Robert E. Howard Swords Aginst Death, by Fritz Leiber Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch Lord of the Silver Bow, by David Gemmell Bloodstone, by Karl Edward Wagner
Heroes of the Fallen Book Trailer
“An epic tale of valor and degeneracy where heroes are beset on every side by wicked schemers whose plots, like a flood, threaten to drown them all." (Daron D. Fraley, Author of The Chronicles of Gan: The Thorn)