DIRECTED BY Michael J. Bassett
CAST: James Purefoy, Max von Sydow, Pete Postlethwaite
COUNTRY: France/Czech Republic, U.K.
RATING: 14A Frightening scenes of violence.
It is the early 1600's, North Africa. A ship bearing the British flag is docked and a band of brigands comes ashore. They are led by Solomon Kane (Purefoy), a English warrior and privateer. They storm the stronghold of a castle, only to find there an evil presence they have never before had to fight. Solomon is a man who enjoys his work, relishing in killing and pillaging. It seems that his wicked life is about to come to an end however, because in the keep of the castle, there is an ancient evil force waiting for him. The devil's reaper has come to claim Solomon's soul. However, Solomon manages to escape, for the time being.
A year passes, and we find that Solomon Kane has taken refuge in a monastery in England. He lives a life of piety, hoping to change his fate. But, these are dangerous and dark times in England. Solomon is told by the Abbot that he must leave the monastery. Solomon is desolated, asking him, "Where would you have me go?" The abbot replies that there are "many paths to redemption, not all of them peaceful"
On the road, he is attacked by thieves but refuses to fight back. A Puritan family traveling to board a ship bound for the New World finds him and nurses him back to health. Solomon decides to travel with them, still unsure of his destination. One night, they are attacked by a band of demonically possessed warriors. They kill the family's son and kidnap the eldest daughter, setting in motion Solomon's quest to redeem himself.
Solomon Kane is a fantasy epic complete with swordplay, demons to slay, and a damsel in distress. Ultimately, it is in the depth of the character's personal struggle to conquer his inner demons that the greatness of the story shines through. Praying for God's help, he uncovers the truth behind the curse that has spread across the land, allowing demons to roam in plain sight among men. Solomon Kane establishes himself as a fierce warrior, fighting to defeat evil.
James Purefoy manages to bring an incredible amount of emotion and realism to an otherwise fantastical character. His character's sincerity is palpable throughout the film, as is the conflict raging in his soul. The film serves as an origin story, with talks to expand the story into a trilogy. It will be a welcome addition to the fantasy genre, with a complexity in its storytelling that has not been seen since The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
This year's TIFF programme was full of films dealing with the subject of the soul, and the ramifications of living an unholy life. It is telling that all three of the aforementioned movies suggest a return to unambiguous hero/villain archetypes. It would appear that TIFF is inadvertently heralding the return of moral non- relativism in the film industry. Perhaps, the "soul "of the film industry is finally ready to be saved-even if it's from itself.
Carla Lopez studied fllm and music at York University. She is a regular reviewer. Carla has also worked as music director for two productions in New York city
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|Article Type:||Movie review|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2009|
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