Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
Germany/United Kingdom, 2010. Egoli Tossell Film, HanWay Films, Zephyr Films, Ecosse Films, The Post Republic. Screenplay by Dario Poloni. Cinematography by Sebastian Edschmid. Produced by Robert Bernstein, Jens Meurer, Douglas Rae, Phil Robertson. Music by Christian Henson. Production Design by John Frankish. Costume Design by Petra Wellenstein. Film Editing by Stuart Gazzard.
Fourteenth-century Europe is being ravaged by the Bubonic plague and inspiring all manner of religious fervor as a result. A group of hard bitten knights are sent to a remote village to find out why its residents have not succumbed to disease, believing that one of their members is a necromancer who is in league with the devil.
Leading the knights to the location of the village is a young monk (Eddie Redmayne) who has no idea what he is getting into when he joins this band of angry brothers (led by Sean Bean) and befriends the woman of the village (Carice van Houten) suspected of being a witch.
It’s a smarmy little adventure that barely raises above the average, but it is passably entertaining and the performances are strong, the whole thing kicking into high gear when van Houten’s stylish, glamorously mysterious figure comes into the picture.
I don’t really see how its claims to accuracy can be helped by a Dietrich-esque performance at the film’s centre, but she is certainly a lovely break from all the muddy men constantly shoving their swords into each other and screaming about God.