Brimstone – The DVDfever Cinema Review

Brimstone

Brimstone is a bit of an odd film, but one I enjoyed a lot more than I expected to after seeing the rather middling trailer.

It’s essentially a story of revenge and retribution, told over four chapters (Revelation, Exodus, Genesis and Retribtion), so the naming of those, as well as the way they’re divided up, indicates there’s an element of religion in this, not least in the bibical phrase ‘fire and brimstone’.

Step forward Guy Pearce, simply known as The Reverend, referring to himself as Jesus’ dog, as he’s spreading the word. Despite such people always claiming to be good, there’s a horribly nasty and evil streak in him, and he’ll clash metaphorical swords with Liz (Dakota Fanning), a young, mute woman, for reasons that will kind-of be clear as you watch the movie. And there’s more to it than an early scene with a tragedy involving a newborn child, who Liz is tasked with delivering, but given the baby’s condition, it’s a choice between saving the mother-to-be or the child…

Thus, the stage is set and the tension begins Liz and The Reverend as he tells her calmly, “Do you know why I’m here? I’m here to punish you”. At first, Her husband doesn’t believe that he’s such a rotter, but it doesn’t take too long for the God’s supposed messenger to show his true colours.

Without giving spoilers, the four chapters tell varying stories with the same characters, so continuity is an issue, but there’s great direction and superb acting from Guy Pearce and Dakota Fanning, plus support from Game of ThronesKit Harrington, but the surprise, here, is Emilia Jones as Joanna – only 15 and proving more than her worth amongst the three big names in the cast. The best scenes come between Pearce and Jones, although Ms Fanning more than holds her own. Similar to Liz, Joanna also has her reasons to distrust The Reverend big-time, and there’ll be more pain dished out for all than in an entire season of WWE Smackdown.


“I didn’t get it at Tescos, okay?!”


Note that as Liz is a mute, her sign language comes complete with English subtitles. In another chapter, with Joanna, there’s some unsubtitled Chinese, but I figured that may be intentional as Joanna won’t be able to understand it, hence we can’t either.

The telling of the story is far from linear, but it’s done in a way that can only make sense in this form… but while it takes a bit of time to get a handle on it, who doesn’t want something a bit different in this age where the cinema is filled with the glut of mostly goda -wful superhero movies from Marvel and DC which are all the same?

It’s wrong to say I “enjoyed” Brimstone because it includes some extreme violence, including some of them against women, but I was captivated and gripped by it. It also includes some immensely gory and additional uncompromising moments, even if one around 40 minutes in is hugely improbable.

I’ll also add that if you compare the chapters as all part of the same story, the minutae and introspection of them can turn your stomach.

Also add in a wonderful orchestral score from Junkie XL (Deadpool, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice), and while Brimstone runs a fair portion over two hours – a limit which most films shouldn’t go over, this is a rare occasion when it does so because it’s necesssary to flesh everything out.

Brimstone is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD, and click on the poster for the full-size version.


“I didn’t get… Hey, Dakota, that’s MY line!”


Detailed specs:

Cert:
Running time: 149 minutes
Studio: Thunderbird Releasing Ltd
Year: 2017
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K), EclairColor)
Released: September 29th 2017
Rating: 8/10

Director: Martin Koolhoven
Producers: Uwe Schott and Els Vandevorst
Screenplay: Martin Koolhoven
Music: Junkie XL (aka Tom Holkenborg

Cast
Liz: Dakota Fanning
The Reverend: Guy Pearce
Joanna: Emilia Jones
Samuel: Kit Harington
Anna: Carice van Houten
Frank: Paul Anderson
Elizabeth Brundy: Carla Juri
Sam: Ivy George
Wolf: Jack Roth
Narrator: Naomi Battrick
Eli: William Houston
Crawling outlaw: Tygo Gernandt
Doctor: Justin Salinger
Sally: Vera Vitali
Nathan: Bill Tangradi
Sheriff Zeke: Frederick Schmidt
Eli’s Father: Adrian Sparks
Meng: Hon Ping Tang
Chinese Girl: Amelie Ha

Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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