Season of the Witch
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Ulrich Thomsen, Claire Foy, Robert Sheehan, Christopher Lee and more...
Directed by: Dominic Sena Written by: Bragi F Schut
Premise: A veteran crusader and his fellow knight desert their duty after their latest skirmish sanctioned by the Church involves the massacre of women and children. They're found out during their travels and are given a choice: serve the Church one last time or be killed for desertion. Though at first Behmen refuses, despite the fact he will be killed, as he learns more about the mission and those involved, he changes his mind.
Review: I'd been looking forward to this film for a while. It didn't look like your typical fare. But what we ended up with didn't go far enough.
Most of the characters are minimally constructed. No real depth. (Which could have been resolved with a little more movie time - the film is short at only 95 min) Only the good acting skills of the cast actually drive it along despite the lack of character development. Cage and Perlman have a good rapport, even switching buddy roles as true buddies are bound to do. (One acts out while the other is calm, then vice versa.) Claire Foy looked to have fun in her multifaceted role, which came across well most of the time. Did disturb me though that the farther the movie went along the cleaner she got though it should have been the other way around.
Despite the fact we're in 1344 the language was very anachronistic. "Hello. Is anyone home?" just rang of glaring 20th Century. Overall it's not too noticeable, yet for the one scene with the above it glared and glared hard. :P
Beautiful scenery with some CGI enhancements. The sand dunes for the Crusades looked pretty fake though. The far off monastery (I believe it is a real place) was gorgeous! (Filming locations were Hungary and Austria).
The film is creepy in places. The special effects and makeup people did some outstanding work. The plot tries to keep you guessing about the girl, but not too hard. The opening sequence with the women accused of being witches was good. There's even a hint here of what will turn out to be the film's main mystery/shocker bit. That actually worked pretty well, until they had to do the physical flashbacks to show the audience (who'd be too stupid to put it together or remember, right...) the bits the characters are talking about as they reach the important conclusion.
The fight scenes were mediocre. They used a filming style for them which I think is sad, where they shimmy the action so you can't quite see what's going on. I'm sure they feel it ratchets up the tension, but to me it just comes across as lame. If you do a good fight, the action will ratchet its own tension up just fine! Heh.
Overall it was entertaining. The costumes and locations really added to the overall medieval feel.