Thursday, 30 June 2011
Black Death - dvd review
It's 1348 and there's a new fad sweeping the country. It's called the Plague. Just about everyone's who anyone has it. And just about everyone is dying. However, there are reports of a village untouched by the sickness and the Church wants to know why. There are rumours of witchcraft in this village so step forward Sean Bean and his band of double hard men to investigate. As hard as these men are, they still need a guide to the village so step forward a young monk to lead them there.
It's a simple enough premise and one that works well. The countryside, the atmosphere of the time (fear, grief and simple terror) and the power of religion are all portrayed to their full extent. There are a few twists in the story, as to be expected from the same director of the excellent Triangle, and thankfully none exist to simply be clever. Rather, they serve the plot rather than the other way around. The film also manages to find a nice balance between historical violence and a study of faith - especially in regard to how two men, one a solider and the other a monk, see it and what it means to them in their darkest moments. The cast all do a fine job and it's refreshing to see a film concerned with character rather than spectacle.
Probably not a film for a cosy night in and not one to give you a warm feeling, but still a film to be enjoyed on multiple levels.