Tuesday, 2 April 2013
Film Review: Black Death (2010)
Black Death is a film set in the 1340s around the time of the spread of the bubonic plague.The film follows a group of men, lead by Ulric (Sean Bean), trying to track down a village whom are suspected of pagan and occult activity. The men of God recruit a young monk, Osmund (Eddie Redmayne) to guide them to the village. Osmund takes this as a sign from God that he should lead the men so that he can meet up with his secret love, Averill (Kimberley Nixon). They encounter the witch, Langiva (Carice Van Houten) and village leader, Hob (Tim McInnerny) where they become a part of the strange goings on.
The main conflict in the film is the difference in beliefs of the two groups of characters. They are united in their groups by a fierce faith in what they perceive to be the only religion. The best part of the film for me was the death by horse scene (I'll not say anymore as I don't want to ruin the plot!). The film isn't gory and a lot of the violence is left to the imagination or quite vague. For me, if it had been a bit more graphic it would have increased the feelings of despair of those struck down by the plague and would have had more of an impact on how dedicated Ulrich's men were to the cause of spreading God's word.
I enjoyed the time period and the history behind the film. I thought the story seemed believeable and the mis-en-scene throughout was spot on. The locations are stunning and the remote village creates a sense of tension and eeriness. There are a couple of odd shots and camera angles which make it look a little like they let the work experience kid have a go on the camera. Overall, the film creates a bleak, dull picture of life during the plague.
There are some terrific performances from Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne and Carice Van Houten. I was already a big Sean Bean fan and he plays the strong, brave, fearless leader well. I'm also fast becoming a huge fan of Carice Van Houten, she's fabulous in Game Of Thrones as Melisandre. She plays the evil witch character really well and is so captivating to watch as she manipulates hoards of naive people.
Overall, I did enjoy the film but felt it was lacking a little something that made it incredible. I thought the plot was a bit too simple and this is what may have been lacking for me. It's worth a watch for the performances and the time period of the piece though.