As far as movies dealing with a disease which wiped out around 50% of Europe’s population in the 14th century are concerned, the Black Death isn’t at all bad.
Set in 1348, Black Death is a medieval style retelling of the Wicker Man story, this time involving a monk guide called Osmund (Eddie Redmayne) and a group of Christian fundamentalist soldiers headed by the bishop’s envoy Ulrich (Sean Bean). Sent to investigate a remote marshland village free from pestilence, the devout troop set off across the bleak Black Death riddled English countryside on their way to capturing the necromancer, who is suspected of bringing the village’s dead back to life.
The brutal backdrop to this movie complete with its marshes, mists and marauding maniacs, oozes atmosphere and convincingly conveys the squalid desperation of the times. Meanwhile, the characters we are introduced to for the most part are realistic and are portrayed uncomprimsingly ‘warts and all,’ in contrast to the stock characters film studios are fond of spoon feeding audiences. The actors, too, all put in believable performances.
The themes of religion, occultism and humanity run throughout the whole of the tale, although it is ultimately left to the audience to draw its own conclusions as to who is good and who is evil. Aside from a somewhat weak ending, Black Death may not be a standout movie but is worth a viewing.
- Rated: R
- Action, Drama, Horror
- Release Date: 6/11/2010
- Directed by: Christopher Smith
- Starring: Andy Nyman, Carice van Houten, Eddie Redmayne, John Lynch, Kimberley Nixon, Sean Bean, Tim McInnerny
- Produced by: Douglas Rae, Jens Meurer, Phil Robertson, Robert Bernstein
- Written by: Dario Poloni
- Studio: Ecosse Films, Egoli Tossell Film, HanWay Films, Zephyr Films