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Black Death (Bilingual)

Sean Bean , John Lynch , Christopher Smith    DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 29.95
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Black Death (Bilingual) + Ironclad (Bilingual) + The Last Legion (Bilingual)
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A potent combination of medieval combat and religious paranoia, Black Death serves as an outstanding example of how a genre film can smuggle in some surprisingly mature themes without missing a kinetic step. Set during the late 14th century, Dario Poloni's script follows a young monk (Eddie Redmayne) struggling with his faith as the bubonic plague runs rampant through Europe. As he contemplates fleeing England for a forbidden romance, he is tasked with leading a team of bishop-appointed mercenaries (led by Sean Bean) on their search for a rumored necromancer in the wilderness. After the group hacks their way through packs of infected marauders and nonbelievers, their search finally leads them to a pastoral town mysteriously free of the disease. When the town's beautiful leader (Carice van Houten) displays what appears to be mystical healing powers, the monk must decide which side God is truly on. Director Christopher Smith, previously responsible for the commendably bent time-travel saga Triangle, creates a fantastically earthy environment for the film's increasingly supernatural possibilities to take hold. Bolstered by Bean's commanding performance, this is a terrifically grim--and occasionally terribly gory--action film that delivers an unsettling sting in its tail. --Andrew Wright

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Andre Farant TOP 500 REVIEWER
A smaller film with excellent production values. During the first outbreak of the plague in England, a group of soldiers is sent to investigate a village untouched by the pestilence and suspected of witch craft. It deals creatively with religious extremism, offering a look at two sides of this multi-faceted subject rather than simply focusing on the usual boogeymen of fantaticism (most commonly Christianity, with Islam as a close second).

The cast is good, though it could be argued that Sean Bean is underused.

Should appeal to most anyone who enjoyed In the Name of the Rose or The 13th Warrior.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sean Bean June 1 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
can't get any better than Boramir n Eduard Stark and let us not forget Richard Sharpe. Me i can't get enough. Was a good movie, glad i didn't live in that time. Received promptly, well packaged and undamaged.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not your ordinary horror flick June 5 2012
1348 '-- a bit early for the widespread burning of witches, but there were a few. That year was also a bit late for villages where paganism is mainstream, but I supposed there could have been one or two. By the late fourteenth century, however, paganism had been driven into the deepest shadows of rural life and replaced by a Christianity that already had 300 years of resurgence under its belt. In other words, history gets telescoped in this film ' no doubt for the purpose of seeming darkly familiar to us, having just -- in 2010 -- lived through the mainstreaming of Christian fundamentalism, thanks to G.W. Bush.

What is accurate in the film is the violence, the ignorance, and the persecution -- especially the persecution. Jews were the major target during the plague years and were eventually banished from most of Western Europe by the end of the fifteenth century, at which point women took over as handy scapegoats for a superstitious clerical class known for its corruption and an inept ruling class. It wasn''t for nothing that Petrarch caused the era to be called the Dark Ages. '"We live in a dark age,"' he said, referring to the corruption of the papacy and the backwardness of the rank-and-file clergy. The image stuck -- despite the attempt by a whole school of modern historians to turn the later Middle Ages into a pre-Renaissance renaissance.

Director Christopher Smith''s vision of the so-called '"high"' Middle Ages is suitably dark. I haven't seen it this accurately presented since J.-J. Annoud's *Name of the Rose [Blu-ray]*, which was remarkably true to Umberto Eco''s novel in this regard.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Time for a remake...already March 29 2012
By One singular sensation... TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Black Death" must have been a nightmare to market, and perhaps that is why it slipped beneath the radar in most cities. I'm not certain why I bought a copy, probably because Sean Bean is always excellent if badly underused in films. But it was a wise buy, even if I seldom watch the film again.
Hollywood loves to remake films that have been successful, and if Hollywood does not do it, the stage does. "Wizard of Oz" on stage is one of Weber's new attacks upon our emotions, and it is dismal. There was even a musical version of "Gone with the Wind" that died a painful death in Great Britain before it made it across the Atlantic, though Harve Presnell as Rhett should have been interesting. But film remakes are usually atrocious. "The Maltese Falcon" was a great exception with Warner Brothers trying it over and over, until Humphrey Bogart and the rest of that great cast made it work. And, too, "Casablanca". Unfortunately, there have been vile remakes of both since then. What has this to do with "Black Death"? A lot. This film is a failure on so many levels because it doesn't really know where to focus. But if one steps back a bit, looks at it objectively, and represses both the laughter at ridiculous make-up and the shudders of brutal moments of violence, there is a lot to think about that few movies have come close to suggesting.
It is a morality play, but not of the medieval kind. It suits this century perfectly. It also deals with perceptions and with 'realities', using religion more as a springboard than as the central issue. Clearly, there are no absolutes, but what is the range of decency, corruption, deception, and honour? Wrong or right may not matter at all as the two poles we run to or away from. But to what extent can we choose as the old rules fall by the wayside?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Meh, not too sure Dec 10 2011
By E
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Usually I enjoy watching movies where element of what occurred in the past is used but this one kind of left me on my appetite: Seems that what was going to happen next was very obvious. I dunno... Perhaps I should stop watching movies in my second language?
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