Best Movies of All Time + [Ulrich Thomsen]

SEASON OF THE WITCH

SEASON OF THE WITCH-13

Season of the Witch is a 2011 action thriller that was directed by Dominic Sena and stars Nicolas Cage. When crusaders Behmen (Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman) desert from their forces, they make their way back towards their homeland. However, they are recognized in a small town, and in order to avoid the punishment for desertion - in a word, death - they agree to accompany a young monk named Debelzaq (Stephen Campbell Moore) to a monastery as he escorts a young woman (Claire Foy), who has been accused of witchery, to her place of judgment. Debelzaq believes that this woman, Anna, is responsible for the onset of the Black Plague that has recently taken the country in its grasp. Along with another knight (Ulrich Thomsen), a swindling guide (Stephen Graham) and a well-meaning altar boy (Robert Sheehan), Behmen and Felson set forth on their quest to find the monastery and commit the woman to her fate.

I'd like to start by saying that I had no real expectations going into watching Season of the Witch (which I shall call SOTW, henceforth). It was originally to be released in March of 2010, but after finding an unfavorable level of competition, Lionsgate elected to push the release to either September or October. Well, September and October came and went, and still no SOTW. Finally, it was granted a release in the first weekend of 2011, making it officially the first piece of garbage to grace our screens in the new year. And yes, I mean garbage.

To be fair, it's nowhere near the worst movie I've ever seen (trust me, I've seen some pretty bad flicks). Our screenplay isn't horrendous, but it's rote and cliché and leaves no room for any imagination. SOTW was supposed to be a supernatural action thriller, but it left out the most important piece: it's not exactly thrilling. In fact, it's terribly dull. There are some action scenes - but they're very few and far between - but they don't do much to rouse the audience from their seats with interest. That's not really a good thing for any type of action movie. The worst insult a film like this could get is that it's dull.

I'd love to take the time to berate the acting in the film because, although it's not terrible, it's just not very good. I think we've all become accustomed to seeing Nicolas Cage in terrible movies (What happened, Nic?! You're an Oscar winner!), and this simply follows the same vein of his recent career path. Perlman is good in his role, providing a little bit of comic relief from time to time, but he can't do enough to save the movie. I think my biggest issue with the acting was that a number of the characters could not find it in their hearts even to attempt a British accent. I mean, we are talking Crusaders here, and we do have a setting in that general area, considering we're dealing with the Plague. But Cage and Perlman and Graham and Sheehan don't even seem to be trying. A British accent isn't that hard to do, and to be honest, I'd have rather heard terrible accents than none at all. I just didn't realize that American accents had come around centuries before the settlement of the Americas. (And no, I'm not bitter.)

If anything's going for the film, it's the musical score. It fits the sweeping landscape well, and had the screenplay and acting been a little bit better, the music would have perfectly accentuated this type of quest. Atli Örvarsson, who also scored 2008's Vantage Point and the just-released-today The Eagle, does well this time around.

All in all, SOTW isn't really worth your time, unless you're into being bored with a movie. Considering that goes against the entire concept of cinema, I don't think many people will share that sentiment. You should probably avoid this one like the Plague (pun intended).

Movie Review Summary:Grade: D-
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