UK Release date: 4th March 2011
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 29th January 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I remember hearing about this film before it came out and I have to admit I was intrigued. Of course it never showed at my local cinema and so I had the long wait until it appeared on TV, which, as you can probably guess, occurred recently. It’s an interesting film, based on fact, that is, at times, brutally violent but still kept me interested all the way through. I will give you my thoughts after this brief summary.
It’s Thirteenth Century England and King John has been forced by the nobility to sign the Magna Carta. This is a document that limits the power of the king and gives rights to the common people. According to the filmmakers, what he did next was to get the pope to give him the right to get back his power. To this end he hires an army from Denmark and goes about the land taking his revenge on those who had opposed him. Enter Albany, a man who believes in the rebellion and who wants to see that John is stopped. He gathers a small band of men, one of which is a Knights Templar, Marshal. They ride to Rochester Castle where they make their stand against John’s army. Archbishop Langton has sent word to the French and Albany hopes they will arrive before the castle falls. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Historically Inaccurate Films Division) will have me hung, drawn and quartered at dawn.
A film that didn’t have a big budget, but I believe they did a good job with what they had. There are some terrific fight scenes and an awful lot of gore (definitely not one for the squeamish). As far as performance go, well James Purefoy did a decent job as the moody, brooding Marshal, Brian Cox was great (as ever) as Albany and Paul Giamatti seemed to have a great time chewing the scenery as King John. Honourable mentions must go to; Kate Mara as Isabel, Derek Jacobi as Cornhill, Charles Dance as Archbishop Langton, Jason Flemyng as Becket and Jamie Foreman as Coteral.
I liked this film a bit more than most, but there are things about it I wasn’t all that pleased with. The love story between Marshal and Isabel I found pointless and even so, it was dragged out far too long. Talking of length, the film is about 20 minutes too long IMO (and I saw a shorter version cut for TV). Other than that I thought it was a decent piece of work. Admittedly a little too gory in places for some, but it was entertaining enough and one I have no problem in recommending… Although I feel some will disagree.
My score: 6.9/10
IMDb Score: 6.2/10 (based on 11,518 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 44/100 (based on 55 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 39/100 (based on 8,288 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Marshall: Have you ever killed a man, squire? It is not a noble thing. Not even when it is for God!
Albany: We claim this castle in the name of the rebellion!
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
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