Category: British Films

Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne in “Black Death” – Critical Review

Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne in “Black Death” – Critical Review

Perusing the movie selections on the shelves at Walmart, I was startled to see Boromir from Lord of the Rings staring out at me. Only, on this movie cover, located on a high shelf near the back, a zombie-like creature stood behind him. The movie was titled Black Death, starring English stars Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne.

Black Death‘s Plot and Purpose

Germany financed and English Director Christopher Smith directed this film about witch hunters during the three year Black Death pandemic in England. Originally, English production companies intended to help finance the film. They later refused, for reasons I assume lie within the movie’s plot. Allow me to explain what occurred in the film:

Averill and Osmund making plans to flee.

In the year 1348, the Black Death pandemic had entered the England monastery, where our main character was located as a novice. After a few short scenes with those suffering from the black plague, we saw the young novice stealing food from his monastery brothers and, after some deception about feeding the afflicted, giving the food to his secret girlfriend. He told her to flee, for the black plague was spreading. She did, but only after telling him to follow, or else she’d leave him forever.



Novice Osmund prayed for the right decision, and thought he received it when witch hunter Ulric walked in and asked for a guide. Journeying with the witch hunter and his men revealed their twisted sense of kindness and mercy. Where Osmund saw unjust persecution, Ulric saw sin and damnation. Osmund merely persevered to reach his girlfriend, Averill.

What happened when Osmund reached his destination was twisted: He came across Averill’s clothing, torn and blood-splattered. He despaired and grieved. Ulric convinced him to go farther with him and his crew to avoid imminent death. Osmund went and they all reached the witch’s village. The witch played with them, drugging them and causing them to see visions. Then came the climax.

Freezing water trapped Ulric, Osmund, and the other witch hunters. The witch, reveling in her power, gave them the option to forsake God and live, or to remain in the faith and die. Well, as Ulric warned his men, she killed both the questionably faithful and the absolute deserter in the group all alike. However, when Osmund and the witch hunters first arrived at the village, the witch showed Osmund his “dead” girlfriend. And how she had raised her from the dead.



Osmund goes to see his “resurrected” Averill.

Believing this story about his girlfriend which the witch had crafted, Osmund questioned whether to forsake God, living in the witch’s village, or to keep his faith and die. He chose the latter. He also chose the latter for his seemingly possessed girlfriend, whom he drove a knife into and killed. Realizing what he had done, the witch acted horrified and exclaimed this as typical for how Christians act.

After quartering Ulric – who, it turned out, had black plague symptoms – everyone fled the scene. This left Osmund and one somewhat kindly witch hunter. Osmund followed the fleeing witch, intending to kill her, but learned the horrible truth instead: His girlfriend had never been dead, merely drugged and used to fool Osmund. Needless to say, the witch got away, leaving Osmund stunned, horrified, grieving, and hopeless.

The narrator, who turned out to be the somewhat kindly witch hunter, ended the film. He talked about the rumors he heard about Osmund turning into a witch hunter and killing many innocent women from his grief-driven madness. Overall, the film showed God as powerless, and evil as superior.

What British News Sources Taught Me About Black Death

Silly and historically inaccurate, said the writer for The Guardian. This particular article used references to describe how some witch hunting did occur in England, but predominantly in different centuries. Also, villages did learn to target mostly women, but this occurred only after a couple centuries after the mid-1300’s. And the degree of violence against innocent women in general never reached the extreme that this movie portrayed, at least in England.

Based on this information, I concluded English film producers refused to finance this film because the film writer had over-exaggerated this dark historical period. Moreover, this film was produced in the year 2010, while her majesty Queen Elizabeth II had (and still has) power. Because this film portrayed England and God in a negative light, the loyal citizens would have none of it. Thank God for Britain’s good sense.

Surprising Actors Found in Black Death

Sean Bean as Ulric

Of course, I already mentioned my surprise to see Sean Bean dressed very similarly to his character “Boromir, son of Denethor II” in The Lord of the Rings on this film’s cover. In The Lord of the Rings, Bean’s character encouraged both dislike and understanding in the viewers. He was a gray character. Therefore, to see him as witch hunter Ulric, another brutal and daring role, brought about mixed feelings.

Alex and I failed to recognize Eddie Redmayne’s name. However, early on in the film, Alex piped up and said, “Hey, it’s Newt!” The nagging feeling I had about this character was solved. For Eddie Redmayne had played the beloved Newt in J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He played Osmund, the main character, in Black Death. Recognizing him as Newt made his ending in Black Death much harder to accept.

One Christian’s Opinion on Whether or Not to Watch Black Death

If my readers are strong believers in the Christian faith, like my husband and I, then they will severely dislike this film. At the beginning, the possibility of a strong Christian message appeared so likely as to give my husband and I hope for a happy ending. These hopes disappeared as the film progressed. In the end, we felt nothing but shame at how the film writer portrayed the Christian believers, if they could even be called believers.

How Osmund turned out also doesn’t sit well with me. He started off devout and loving. He questioned the monastery life, like the Protestant Christians did, and wished for a wife. His faith seemed genuine. However, when the witch tricked him, and he ended up killing his love, his faith didn’t save him. He become corrupted, in mind and spirit. True faith would heal all wounds, even those from a powerful witch and necromancer. Osmund’s faith should have kept him in the light.

Overall, I think the film did well in regards to acting and scene setting, but the plotline was terrible. History as it played out in the real world is frightening enough. Mixing history for a fictional horror film seems unnecessary. I recommend watching this film when my readers feel the need for something eerie. But, please, try to ignore the social agenda in the film, for only those enslaved to sin do such horrific deeds. And, as to witches, we all have different beliefs regarding witches and necromancers.



 

Monsters in Literature, and Monsters in Reality – All Things Frightening in the UK

Monsters in Literature, and Monsters in Reality – All Things Frightening in the UK

Halloween has erupted in the United States, disrupting my plans for exploring more UK meals and British royal histories. For my curiosity about all things frightening in the UK has reared its head, demanding my attention. And it’s my full intention to explore it, to submerge myself in everything related to UK mystery and horror.

Bring Friends and Family to All Things Frightening in the UK

It’s also my intention to drag my husband along this dark road. For I’m a big scaredy-cat, and I’m usually frightened at things as small as theatrical horror stories. Real-life horror, such as Jack the Ripper, frightens me even more.



Therefore, since my husband finds entertainment in dark stories and horror movies, I hope he will protect me from my own imagination as we dive into all things frightening in the UK. I advise for all my readers to do the same. For the UK horror, especially the real-life horror, will make every dark corner ominous and every unknown noise mysteriously connected to serial killers who roam the streets.

Exploring the Age-Old Frights in All Things Frightening in the UK

It’s my suspicion many people who read this post will laugh at the age-old horror stories, fictional and reality-based, which we will explore and study. Nevertheless, I turn to these classics because of their great imprint on society around the world. If given enough time, we will explore the following books, movies, and histories:

Exploring these old tales and fables may lead me to learn more about America’s history and culture regarding Halloween and the supernatural. After all, a mere few months into studying about the UK has revealed much about how Americans have adopted and adapted UK customs and practices into their own culture. Why not Halloween?

“Share the Wealth!” Pertaining All Things Frightening in the UK

Based on Google’s Analytics, I realize that people who visit this blog know much more about the United Kingdom and its culture than I may ever know. And I ask, as someone who loves British books, films, foods, histories, and modern culture, for people to share their knowledge with me. Or, at least, to give me tips on where to find true, solid information about the UK.

Right now, I ask for information regarding all things frightening in the UK. If my readers know scary British authors or movie directors, then please, share the wealth! I will research and share with all my American friends who also enjoy all the frightening things imported to us from the UK.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game” – Critical Review

Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game” – Critical Review

Produced in 2014, The Imitation Game used several popular British actors and actresses to promote an ever-increasing, popular movement: LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) pride and accomplishment.

Provided below is a short summarization of the film and the message I gathered from the film’s making. Whether my readers agree with my analysis or not will hopefully provide for interesting and polite discussion in the comments below.

The Story Behind The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in The Imitation Game as Alan Turning.

Set in the year 1939, Britain’s secret agency was looking to hire several men to help them break Nazi Germany’s Enigma. For those who don’t know, Enigma had to do with Nazi Germany’s coded communication method. The story revolved around one of the hired mathematicians, Alan Turing.

As the movie progressed, the viewers learned about Turing’s logical mind and antisocial behaviors. The producers made his homosexuality evident early in the movie. And downright blatant halfway through the movie in a scene between Turing and his fiance, whom Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley played.

Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game as Joan Clarke.

Through political means, Turing managed to fire two of his co-workers to provide the funding for the machine he insisted would win the war. It was the first computer ever made. Eventually, after some toil and turmoil, the hired team and the machine decoded Nazi Germany’s Enigma.

As mentioned above, the producers emphasized on Turing’s homosexuality. They detailed a boyhood’s lost love, how the lost love affected his adult life, and the trials Turing underwent when convicted of indecent behavior. Ultimately, the movie portrayed Turing as a war hero and a victim before he committed suicide at 41 years of age.

The Politics Behind The Imitation Game

The scene where Alan Turing and his team solve the Enigma.

The film’s aesthetics, such as the sound score, were beyond lovely. However, the social and political messaging behind The Imitation Game were nauseating. Though I have heard of it done, never before had I seen a story so flagrantly flounce the simple contributions of a homosexual man.

Throughout the movie, I had been caught up in the story. I rooted for Turing in his job, related to him in his social awkwardness, and sympathised with him for his lost love. However, when the movie ended, I saw the politics. I saw how exaggerated everything was to make Turing look like a victimized hero, all due to his homosexuality.

Thankfully, I had watched this movie on Netflix instead of buying it. For while Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley may rank high on my favorites list, I dislike promoting political agendas. Everyone should have the option to believe in what they will.

My Recommendation on Watching The Imitation Game

If someone reading this blog post belongs to the LGBT community, then he or she will love this movie and should watch it. And anyone who accepts the LGBT community with open arms will also enjoy this movie. However, those who believe the Holy Bible as I do, should find something else to watch. This movie is all about gay pride.

Please, before someone slams me as being a homophobe, recognize that I accept any LGBT member as a friend. However, my beliefs prevent me from accepting their lifestyle. Therefore, I avoid, and advice others with similar beliefs, to avoid political agenda movies, such as The Imitation Game.

Thank you for reading. Please comment below on how stupid I am, or how I may have a point, or the excellent scenery and score in the movie, or more.

Top Three Reasons to Avoid Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask

Top Three Reasons to Avoid Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask

Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask brings pain to depressed people. It’s something horrific and distressing, vile and repugnant. Under no circumstances should someone struggling with genuine depression, especially those who feel worthless and hopeless, watch this movie.

Have I convinced my readers to stay away from this British flick? I hope so. As someone who struggles with depression, I felt only despair about the real world as this movie played. Ultimately, movie lovers should avoid this movie for three reasons:

It’s a terrible remake of Alice in Wonderland.

In Disney’s animated version, Alice in Wonderland showed how a young girl worked through real-life problems through a vividly imaginative dream. The real-person version with Johnny Depp took one step further and indicated Alice as actually having gone to a place called Wonderland. Though both contained dark elements, the fictional characters and surrounding scenery remained lighthearted and true-to-form.

Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask took a different, and absolutely, unquestionably dark, approach. For while the heroine Helena recognized a few caricatures as real-life representations, the other characters and the surrounding background was dramatically distorted and twisted. Something to cause viewers to worry for the young girl.

It shows the ugliness of real life with an extra smear of bad.

God has blessed me with people who love me and have the ability to support me when I struggle financially and emotionally. People who struggle the same way under different circumstances go hungry and live in rundown apartment complexes. Helena, her parents, and all their friends lived in such circumstances.

On the other hand, director Neil Gaiman seemed to amp up their dire situations with lethal situations and no help to be found. They suffered silently, but remained strong, until Helena’s mother came down with cancer. She went to the hospital, and the circus shut down. It was then Helena found her dreamworld, personal and dark.

It gives false hope to people in desperate situations.

If situational or chronic depression exists in people’s lives, then they should avoid this movie at all costs. On the day my husband suggested watching this movie, I had come home early from work because I couldn’t stop crying. Seeing Helena fight for a better future as a new and self-improved person seemed too unreal and hokey.

Only God can change people, and as King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, luck and chance happen to us all. So, people can read self-improvement books to their heart’s content, but only miracles change the course for an individual’s sinful, well-tread path. In my opinion, it’s best to pray for help, for a stroke of luck, instead of beating ourselves up in trying to change the dark elements in our own lives.

Mirrormask may need to wait for a better day.

Maybe I would like this British movie more on a happier and less emotional day. Maybe Neil Gaiman placed all his characters in better situations in the end. Somehow, I doubt it. If anything, a self-created miracle happened in Helena’s life, and I don’t believe people can change on their own selves. Thank you, Doctor Gregory House.

Feel free to shout at me for reviewing an unfinished movie. Or tell me how it ends and how I despaired over nothing. Any comments are welcome.