HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Black '47
Godfather Part II, The
Await Further Instructions
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
In Order of Disappearance
Charlotte's Web
Meg, The
Christmas Blood
Equalizer 2, The
1985
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
   
 
Newest Articles
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
   
 
  Brimstone A 19th Century TerminatorBuy this film here.
Year: 2016
Director: Martin Koolhoven
Stars: Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning, Kit Harington, Carice Van Houten, Paul Anderson, Carla Juri, Emilia Jones, Ivy George, William Houston, Jack Roth, Naomi Battrick, Vera Vitali, Tim Ahern, Fergus O'Donnell, Jack Hollington, Justin Salinger, Frederick Schmidt
Genre: Western
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Liz (Dakota Fanning) is a midwife in the Old West, though as she is mute after her tongue was cut out, she relies on her young daughter Sam (Ivy George) to give instructions to her patients, which she relays by sign language. She is married to Eli (William Houston), who has a son of his own from a previous marriage that ended when his last wife died, so for Liz this marriage is one of convenience as it lends her a respectability and gives her a roof over her head that she would not have received if she had been a single woman. However, one Sunday morning she attends church with the rest of the townsfolk and is horrified to see who the new preacher is: someone unwelcome from her past.

He is played by Guy Pearce with scar makeup, and as the film progresses, both forward and backwards, we find out how he got those marks and also the marks he doles out to others, because The Reverend as he is known is not a nice man at all. Indeed, he was a religious maniac who manages to suppress that mania until he is alone with one of his flock, whereupon if he has a personal point to make he will let out his insanity in the most dreadful manner possible, and Brimstone was criticised for its violence, much of it inflicted upon women and children, in some quarters where the audience and critics alike were expecting a more traditional Western.

Or even a Quentin Tarantino-style Western, which this was not, being more stately than that and less indulgent of the cultural references. Both Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight had proposed social and political conclusions to their violence, but with this it was more arthouse, and in its way curiously fable-like, as Charles Laughton's cult classic The Night of the Hunter had evidently been an influence writer and director Martin Koolhoven had been happy to court. Certainly the chief antagonist as a murderous holy man was a strong element both shared, though this lacked the saviour figure as poor Liz is ultimately forced to do her own saving of both herself and her child.

Divided into four chapters with suitably portentous, one-word titles, there was a lot Old Testament about how morals are applied to both the evil and noble characters, with the goodies suffering, if anything, far more than the baddies since they can tell what is decent and true in this harsh world, and this insight makes them lament how their experiences there lag behind what they know about the best of humanity. The Reverend, no matter his learning in the scripture, has no concept of how his actions can be so damaging for believing he has God on his side excuses his brutality and perversions in his own mind, believing he is fully justified to abuse women and children alike because God told him to. We've seen this the world over, no matter what the faith, and you don't even have to be religious to suffer under these delusions.

With that in mind, Brimstone could be regarded as an uncompromising critique of life's ardent conservatives and how they would be hypocrites in the view of Koolhoven, who took the best part of seven years to bring this particular vision to the screen in a manner he approved of (two years of that was securing the funding - don't let anyone tell you movie making is easy). It was well seen his opinions on the global community were being brought out in his work, and that is either going to appeal to you or it isn't: you could completely understand why not only would this not be everyone's cup of tea, but also why it would elicit such anger in response. Add to that its humourless, self-important qualities, and there were two other reasons to take against it, yet it had such an uncompromising drive about it that the more receptive may find themselves admiring what was obviously precisely what its creator wanted to concoct. With a cast who were on his wavelength throughout, this was a stark, Gothic Western that kept the genre alive in insistent style. Music by Junkie XL.

[Thunderbird's Blu-ray features loads of interviews with cast and director as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 507 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
   

 

Last Updated: