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Black Death
Click for full sized poster

Black Death

Starring Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Carice van Houten, Kimberley Nixon, Tim McInnerny
Screenplay by Dario Poloni
Directed by Christopher Smith

IN SHORT: A really good sit. [Rated R for strong brutal violence, and some language. 102 minutes]

If you miss the first minute of the film Black Death you will miss a real important point of the story so, for those of you that walk in late to avoid commercials and trailers, here it is: Black Death is the story of a monk-in-training, the novice Osmund (Eddie Redmayne), who has one small problem standing in the way of his taking the vow of celebacy and becoming a full time Brother. That would be hisgirl friend, a lovely blonde named Averil (Kimberley Nixon). With the Plague raging across europe and yet to cross the English channel, Osmund sends Averil to the one place he knows that hasn't been touched by rampant disease, his hometown, safely surrounded by a marsh.

If we follow the story correctly, there is another town on the "safe" side of the marsh, rumored to be inhabited by devil worshipers and protected by a demon. When an envoy of the Bishop, Ulric (Sean Bean) and a complement of the soldiers come looking for a guide to said town -- monks were the map makers of the time -- they take the novice, a former resident of the town next door. He, of course, wants to rendezvous with his girl. The knights are under orders from the local bishop to bring back the head of the necromancer on a pike.

Osmund regrets his indenture almost immediately. When the band of knights finds a town untouched by the plague, they masqueade as travelers and are welcomed and fed by the leaders of the town, Hob (Tim McInnerny) and Langvia (Carice van Houten). Said town seems to be relatively untouched by disease, save for the remarkable absence of a number of male residents. Given that we're in the middle of the fourteenth century, there was proably a crusade going on somewhere, so we'll go with that. But the women of the town are more than friendly to the motley band of ex-thieves robbers and other criminal elements in their midst. The entire party is kept "entertained" after dinner while the celibate novice wanders out of town. What he stumbles across is a bonfire and town leader Langvia (Carice van Houten) leading a ceremony that is positively un-Christian -- demonstrating her demon spawned powers by raising the dead. Osmund is in deep.

That's all you really have to know about Black Death, a terrific sit all the way up to a fairly rushed ending. It's a minor quibble mentioned only because we were enjoying our time in the past (sic) tremendously.

Black Death goes out of its way to avoid any kind of documentary-type look. It does contain visuals that will quickly refresh any long forgotten memory about anything you learned if you were paying attention back in your school days <g>.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Black Death, he would have paid . . .


See it. Be surprised.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Christopher Smith
Click to buy films starring Sean Bean
Click to buy films starring Carice van Houten

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