Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
October 2015

It sometimes almost astounds me, the sheer number of movies that have been made that are set in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Good movies, bad movies, indifferent movies. Movies trying to push a modern agenda but setting that agenda sometime in the distant past. Lots of movies with great potential, but only a few of which manage to actually live up to that initial promise. This month's movie is not one of those. This month's movie is one of the majority, the ones which do not reach to their potential, but for one reason or another (or for many reasons), just don't quite "come together" in the way that the writers and directors were striving for. Indeed, this month's movie can be found under three, count 'em, three, different titles. IMDb lists it as The Headsman; Netflix (where Anna Sue and I watched it) had it listed as Shadow of the Sword; I'm going to give it the full title that appeared in the opening credits, as this month Da'ud Bob reviews for you the 2005 movie Shadow of the Sword: A Headsman's Tale.

Starring Nikolaj (Game of Thrones' Jaime Lassiter) Coster-Waldau as Martin, Peter McDonald as Georg, Anastasia Griffith as Anna, Julie Cox at Margaretha, Patrick Godfrey as Bertram, Eddie Marsan as Fabio, John Shrapnel as the Archbishop, and Steven Berkoff as the Inquisitor, this film "chronicles the time-tested loyalty of two friends during Europe's 16th-century Inquisition. Orphans Martin and Georg bond as children, but walk very different paths as adults. Georg follows his calling to join the church, while Martin becomes an army captain. When fate places Martin in the role of executioner, he must choose between friendship and fundamentalist doctrine." Actually, it was both more - and less - than that. Almost no time was spent on the initial bonding between the two boys; and the story line gets complicated by love, unrequited love, ambition, blind ambition, and heresy, among other things.

Good points: It was filmed in Austria and Hungary.

Bad point: The storyline of the movie was really pretty weak. A notebook by Leonardo da Vinci which could never have been owned by the man who had it. Were executioners really considered to be "untouchables?" A priest saying Ego te absolve (I absolve you) just before execution. (They were executing heretics here; one doesn't absolve a heretic unless he renounces his heresy first. Abjure the heresy, get absolved, get executed, go to heaven. No renouncing heresy, no absolution, you still get executed, but no heaven. That's the way it works.) "The Emperor will send his Spanish Inquisition" (emphasis added). (I don't believe the Emperor was in charge of the Inquisition, in Spain or anywhere else. It was a church matter. If the Inquisition - not the Spanish Inquisition, unless it's in a Monty Python skit - found someone guilty, they were then turned over to the secular authorities for punishment, often capital punishment.) A hereditary birthmark. The pyre laid to burn the heroine was big enough that it probably would have set the whole town ablaze.

One breast. Three gallons of blood. 26 dead bodies. Sword fu. Knife fu. Fisticuffs. Heads roll. Gratuitous revolting peasant kneading bread (while giving it a little extra protein). Gratuitous severed arm. Gratuitous pickled body parts. Gratuitous pickled two-headed fetus in a jar. Gratuitous doxies. Gratuitous herbalism lessons. Gratuitous torture. Gratuitous book burning. A 92 on the Vomit Meter. Netflix subscribers gave this movie two stars (out of five). I think that rating is overly optimistic. One star. Da'ud Bob says "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau may be pretty to look at, but looks alone can't save this movie. Check it out!"

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

October 2, 2015 in the UK; the release date for the US is said to be in November 2015. Macbeth. Yet another film of "the Scottish play," this time starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, and David Thewlis. Macbeth, a duke of Scotland, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself. Filmed in Scotland.

The US trailer is now available to view on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyFAn5IaFS0


February 26, 2016 Ben Hur. A falsely accused nobleman survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Jack Huston, Nazanin Bodiadi, David Walmsley. Based on the novel by Lew Wallace, a remake of the 1959 classic that starred Charlton Heston in the title role.

No official website yet.

April 8, 2016 in the U.S. Gods of Egypt. The Egyptian god of darkness, Set (Gerard Butler), has taken the throne of Egypt for himself. A young thief (Brenton Thwaites), with the aid of the god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) seeks to defeat him. Brenton Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Geoffrey Rush, Rufus Sewell.

No official website yet.

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