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Season of the Witch
On its face, this film is a showcase for Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman, who play 14th Century knights who must escort an accused witch to a monastery far away in order for her to be judged – your typical action/adventure fare. However, this film represents something far, far more important, and that is the enormous disconnect between the people who are paid to review movies, and the people who pay to see movies.
If you look over the reviews of the critics, this movie is nothing short of terrible. I mean drowning puppies terrible, something that should be simply swept aside and purposefully ignored. However, take a look at the reviews of actual human people who paid to see the movie and something completely different emerges – an enjoyable and fun genre flick. That there exists such disparity between critic and paying public is truly something - and perhaps it is fitting that this is a Nicolas Cage flick.
Cage plays Behman and Perlman is Felson, a pair of knights who, over the years, have become disillusioned with the church and the crusades. After a massacre of women and children, the two men desert the army and return home to Europe (the movie never really says where in Europe, but the flick was lensed in Austria and Hungary), where they are promptly identified as deserters and arrested. Although resigned to their fates, they eventually take on the task offered them by a dying Cardinal (Christopher Lee under an enormous amount of makeup). They must take a young woman accused of witchcraft (and the cause of the widespread plague) to a monastery where she can be judged.
The film is about the trip, and unrolls in a series of set-pieces that seem to be director Dominic Sena’s forte. There is the battle with forest wolves, the crossing of the teetering bridge, a few others, all culminating in the final battle at the monastery itself. You see, it turns out that the young lass (Claire Foy in a stunning turn) is not so much a witch, as actually possessed by a demon. As it turns out, quite a different situation.
Mr. Cage and Mr. Perlman truly hold this film up and take it as far as it can go. There are certainly some downfalls in the screenplay, and a couple of true groaners in the dialogue, but the two leads are very engaging. Also, Ms. Foy, as the accused witch, is at times beguiling, at times pathetic, and overall, very, very good. I truly enjoyed her performances.
I mentioned that horror icon Christopher Lee appears in the film, but unless you read the credits, you’ll never know it. He is so heavily made up in his scenes that he is all but unrecognizable, and this is a bit of a pity. Lee has such a stunning presence and charisma that he generally elevates any film that he appears in (take George Lucas’ Star Wars Episode II and III for perfect examples). Here, he gamely soldiers on, and I appreciated his performance, even if I did have to consult the credits to realize who it was underneath all of that bubonic plague makeup.
All in all, this is a fun way to blow a couple of hours. It’s not a terrific movie, but neither is it the total tom turkey that the critics made it out to be. If you are looking for a couple of hours of pleasant action diversion, then you could do far worse than “Season of the Witch.”
Mikey Likes It!
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violence and disturbing content
Article by: Mr. Mikey
posted:31 Jan 2012
Related Link: www.seasonofthewitchmovie.com
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