Black Death is a dark tale which essentially leaves you with nothing but the cast are game and there’s no shortage of brutality. Worth a rental as you likely wouldn’t watch it more than once.
Plot: During the time of the bubonic plague in 14th-century England, young monk Osmund (Eddie Redmayne) is recruited by the knight Ulric (Sean Bean) to lead a group of soldiers through the marshes into a mysterious village, where rumors are spreading that a necromancer is raising plague victims from the dead. Osmund agrees, but he has an ulterior motive–to find Averill (Kimberley Nixon), a young woman who has gone missing. Along the way, the group encounters unimagined darkness.
Review: I picked this up on Blu-ray from my local dollar store for 3 bucks last week so I had minimal expectations but I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of Black Death. The cast includes Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne who never disappoint and this is dark and grim stuff.
It’s essentially a tale of religious fanaticism with Sean Bean willing to kill for his God and Eddie Redmayne a more gentle person who believes you can still be loyal to God while having relations with a woman. So far, it doesn’t sound like much of an action movie but there is plenty of bloodshed and limb chopping for all the family throughout.
Black Death is also a men-on-a-mission movie with this ragtag group of warriors (and Eddie Redmayne’s monk) going on a quest to a mysterious village that remains untouched by the plague.
We get to know each member of the group although I would have liked a little more time with them to genuinely care what happened to them.
Each man’s faith (and will) is tested on this perilous journey and its foreshadowed early on that if Osmund embarks on this quest he will return a changed man.
There is no humour whatsoever in this dark tale but with a title like Black Death I wasn’t exactly expecting You’ve Got Mail (more like You’ve Got the Plague). There are no noticeable special effects so it’s rather low-key but it works for this type of tale.
The cast are all excellent and I especially enjoyed Tim McInnerny a villainous role; I’m so used to seeing him as Lord Percy from Black Adder so seeing him in a more menacing role was quite the revelation.
Like I said, it’s not exactly a fun watch but it captures the spirit of the time well and it feels authentic with lots of dead bodies lining the streets so you can practically smell the death flesh.
The way the story ends was not what I expected and rather downbeat but it really worked and Osmund’s transformation from man of God to monster is believable.
Overall, Black Death is pretty gruesome stuff with some brutal swordfights and death scenes and a story that doesn’t go the way you expect; the cast are all great too with Eddie Redmayne’s Osmund a more complex character than you’d first expect. I probably wouldn’t eat anything while viewing though…