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
USA, 2011

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



Franco Macabro said...

I am curious for this one, but for some reason I fear its going to be one of those really bad Cage films. I mean, the studio isnt exactly enthusiastic about this film, the poster is blah...usually signs of a bad film.

But Im a sucker for the supernatural and demons and witches, I love films about these was the supernatural angle handled? And how where the effects?

Kevin Bachelder said...

The trailer looked good but I was hesitant on this one so it's good to know it's worth a look. I'll add it to my Netflix queue.

Thanks. :)

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I think it's best taken as 'fun entertainment' and they play it pretty much as a historical, which I think was a good choice for the horror/supernatural elements.

The effects are... okay. I did laugh once, which I forgot about until you asked Film Connoisseur! Most of them are fine though, and they use atmosphere well to set the mood which I like a lot.

Yep, it's totally worth a look Kevin! I hope you like it when you see it :)

Suzie Ridler said...

Wow, that is way more positive a review than I thought it was going to get! Now I will try and go see it, thanks Shannon!

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