How is it that I didn’t catch this one when it first came out? Surely if there was ever a movie tailor-made for me, it’s this one. A Horror flick set in the Dark Ages, with grand cinematography and tons of swordplay? That’s a surefire recipe! Yet I skipped it? Why? Honestly? Sean Bean. Nothing against him at all, but I took one look at the trailer and said to myself, “Oh, Sean Bean’s playing Boromir again.” Not that the character he plays in this movie is anything like Boromir, or even like the character he played in GAME OF THRONES, but all those characters look identical. Bean has milked that opportunity of portraying Boromir clones to death. I just wasn’t interested.
I caught the film the other night. It’s adequately enjoyable, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. It’s not the “grand epic” it looked to be from the trailer, nor is Sean Bean the main character. That would be Eddie Redmayne, appearing here before he was Eddie Redmayne. Before he’d gotten over, in other words. Before he was known for being Eddie Redmayne. It is Redmayne who provides the performance that lifts the film as a whole above the average; the guy’s talents are evident, hints of the Oscar win that lay in his future. Bean is a gruff supporting character—another Boromir—yet without that latter’s character arc. And the village filled with citizens who, despite being surrounded by the raging Bubonic Plague, remain immune, and where an evil witch is said to raise the dead to life–that ended up not being what I expected either. Points to BLACK DEATH for surprising me, then, I suppose.