Film Review

Dominic Sena’s Season Of The Witch

Dominic Sena’s Season Of The Witch is one of those glossy, noisy supernatural medieval romps that somehow hovers on the line between feeling like a big budget blockbuster and a direct to video outing. It stars Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman as two veteran knights of the crusades who become disillusioned with their often brutal cause and the unfortunate civilian casualties that accompany it. They set out on their own as freelance mercenaries and are soon hired by a plague-ridden Cardinal (a near unrecognizable Christopher Lee) to transport a suspected witch (Claire Foy)… somewhere, I wasn’t really paying attention but it involves lots of snowy mountains, dangerous bridge crossings and eventually a spooky old castle for the grand finale. This is pretty run of the mill stuff, the CGI is really weak, the plot is inexcusably thin, historical accents are dodgy and the PG-13 rating pretty much guarantees a lack of genuine bite or edge as far as horror is concerned. It’s mediocre on almost every level but for some reason I found myself enjoying bits of it, despite my best efforts. I think that it has to do with Cage and Perlman, who are both terrific here and really deserve to be in a better film. They’ve never acted together before but they have effortless bromance chemistry here, they take full advantage of the writing and simply seeing them bantering, bickering or slinging tavern pints together is kind of a small delight. Aside from them it’s generic, the supporting cast includes familiar faces like Stephen Graham, Ulrich Thomsen, Rory ‘The Hound’ McCann, Brian F. O’Byrne and Robert Sheehan who all try valiantly to make impressions with… varied results. The problem too is that the film promises us a witch and when it comes time to deliver they reveal that this chick isn’t really a witch at all, she’s something far worse and unfortunately something that the film just didn’t seem to have enough budget bucks to properly present onscreen, and it hurts its chances. Still, it’s worth a look for the beautiful, rugged scenery (filmed mainly in Austria) plus Cage and Perlman, who are legitimately engaging and perhaps someday will get a better film to do their buddy-cop knights edition routine.

-Nate Hill

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