Monday, 24 January 2011
Season of the Witch
Dir: Dominic Sena (Whiteout, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Swordfish)
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Claire Foy, Ron Perlman, Ulrich Thomsen, Robert Sheehan, Stephen Campbell Moore, Stephen Graham, Christopher Lee
Seen: January 8, 2011 in ETX after wading through a freaking snowstorm!
Reason to see: I tend to like historical adventure type films, although the shift in release date from 2010 to 2011 had me a bit leery.
Season of the Witch was the first film I saw theatrical in 2011, and it was an interesting way to start off the year. My expectations were low as the film was pushed from 2010 to January 2011 (I can't remember another film pushed *to* a January releases. Plus, it's set during a time of witch-hunting and the plot is centred on that activity, and I'm not a big fan of that in general. But, there was just something about it that kept me being curious about the film and I really like the cast so I was going to give it a chance. I'm glad I did.
The film is centred on Behmen (Nicolas Cage) and his buddy Felson (Ron Perlman), both Crusaders more keen on battles and fighting itself over whom or what they are fighting for. But the light eventually does dawn on considering the morality of their actions, which creates conflict in their tasks of delivering the supposed plague-causing witch to stand for her 'crimes'.
Many things about the film surprized me, I loved Ron Perlmas as Felson who is often the comic relief of the film and I loved how they didn't make him simply a brute because he can (and is) much more. I was thrilled to see Ulrich Thomsen (Fear Me Not / Den du frygter), who plays the regal widower Eckhart and fits in perfectly in this setting. Claire Foy is also great as The Girl, who had a challenge of limited mobility during the film but worked very with those limitations. I liked how the film given the setting, didn't exclusively present the angle of 'witches are evil!', and which was very refreshing. It's certainly has that tone from a lot, but not all, of the characters.
There are also lots of horror influences here, and a fair amount of disturbing images, actions and ideas, but it still maintains the structure and tone of an adventure films with a 'quest-like' task and band of travellers, and those are two things I almost always enjoy in stories and I certainly did here. Although it's easily Nicolas Cage's film, it's rounded out with a great supporting cast of new and familiar faces that bring it all together.
Is the film perfect? No, nowhere near. The dialogue is in particular can be bit off, even though the blending of 'historical' and current day language often was entertaining, it also fall flat. I did love Ulrich Thomsen as Eckhart, enjoyed seeing Ron Perlman as the sidekick character and enjoyed the quest-like story. Overall it was fun, kept me engaged and would easily be a film I'd watch again.
See also: Season of the Witch DVD Review
Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it as light adventure flick with some horror tones
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© Shannon Ridler, 2011
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