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The Season For Sleep
Season of the Witch (DVD)
Member Name: Andy.mack
Season of the Witch (DVD)
Advantages: Claire Foy and the special effects
Disadvantages: Everything else - Direction, Script and Acting
I used to consider Nicolas Cage to be one of my favourite actors on the basis of Con Air and Face Off, two films I loved from my mid-teens. It seems though that his choice of roles has been steadily on the decline for a little while now and although I know his films aren't as good anymore, I still seem to watch them in a similar vein to the movies featuring Steven Seagal. That's how it came to pass that I was watching Season Of The Witch on Sky plus yesterday as I still live with a glimmer of hope that Cage is going to return to the standard of those past glories, but this wasn't to be it either.
The Witching Hour
Having grown disillusioned by the Crusades Behman and Felson desert and begin to head home knowing they run the risk of facing arrest. Upon their return they find that their homeland has been ravished by a plague and soon are captured by the local army. The church are blaming the plague on a Witch held with the two Knights in the Cities jail. For Behman and Felson they have a choice to make, remain imprisoned and face charges of desertion or help to transport the suspected Witch to a remote abbey in the hills where she is due to stand trial.
Just recounting the plot for the movie for the purposes of this review makes me realise just how bad a premise it actually was. The movie was written by Bragi F. Schut, a writer I wasn't previously familiar with and after this hopefully wont come across again. The script is very straightforward and the characters are poorly developed with a very slow and ordinary dialogue. Had the plot been a little sharper this might have worked as a premise but what the writer seems to have missed is any real sense of reason within his characters and their actions.
It's a shame as I'd quite liked a couple of director Dominic Sena's previous work. He does a reasonable job with a bad script but even the direction at times seems to lose its direction. The film looks impressive but there are some really major moments of poor lighting and poor filming choices that really detract a bit further from the quality of the movie. I'm afraid that other than some rather impressive looking plague victims and the scenes at the end the film offers very little.
What Were They Thinking?
Having seen the finished product it is perhaps easier to judge than it would have been for Nick Cage and Ron Pearlman, but you do have to wonder at what point they thought this would be a good movie. At least Cage had worked with the director before on Gone in 60 Seconds but Pearlman has no such luxury. Both actors look particularly uncomfortable in the lead roles and the performances from both of them feel quite forced. The characters don't really give either actor a chance to really show what they can do and in all honesty it's a waste of what could have been a good leading cast.
In support of the two leads there are a couple of reasonable performances but on the whole even the supporting cast struggled. It looked as though Ulrich Thomsen as Eckhart was going to develop into a decent character, but his involvement in the story is far shorter than it should have been. The only person to really come out of this with any real credit is Claire Foy, who plays the suspected Witch. I thought she was really the best of a bad bunch and looked and acted the part quite well, however with only one real plus point to the whole film it was destined to struggle.
Don't Waste Your Time
It would be fair to say that if there was anyway I could get back the 95 minutes I wasted in watching this movie then I would do so without hesitation. The plot is pedestrian and doesn't really come to live, whilst the performances are stilted and uncomfortable. The only plus points about the whole film are the special effects and Claire Foy. It's a shame because it's a sign of the further decline of Cage as an actor as his choice of roles seems to be getting worse. If you're considering watching Season of the Witch, my honest recommendation would be, don't bother.
Summary: A very poor action fantasy adventure