Director: Dominic Sena (2011)
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy, Stephen Graham
Swords n' sorcery, Nicolas Cage style. Two deserter Crusaders return to their homeland, which they find devastated by the Black Plague. Whilst Sean Bean is off looking to Tim McInnerny to solve the problem (see the imaginatively titled Black Death), Nicolas Cage tackles things the only way he knows how: by having bad hair and beating up on medieval women. This time he does so accompanied by the epic Ron Perlman and a grubby Stephen Graham.
Despite being a more serious movie, Season Of The Witch puts one in mind of Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow. It feels like a throwback to the Hammer movies of old, complete with a welcome cameo from one Christopher Lee. It's a very simplistic man-on-a-mission film, the likes of which seem all too rare these days. The casting of Nic Cage and Ron Perlman as brothers in arms is inspired. The chemistry is understated (some might say almost non-existent) but I love both actors unreservedly. Their pairing works well, and it's always good to see Ron Perlman at the forefront of a movie. Supporting actors such as Stephen Graham and Stephen Campbell Moore do well too, and even young Robert Sheehan (who I hated in Misfits) pulls his weight.
The Knights, a choirboy and a monk travel across Plague infected England, delivering their witch (Foy) to a remote Monastery, where the Monks hope to use her to stop the Plague's spread. I'm not sure how exactly, nor whether 14th Century Christians had the concept of a "fair trial" which Cage preaches, but the whole thing is just a plot device to get these men on their mission. Along the way they encounter such perils as rickety bridges, their conniving witch and dodgy CGI wolves.
Season Of The Witch takes itself more seriously than it should, especially when the predictable endgame resembles a scene cut from Van Helsing. But it's an enjoyable bit of period nonsense, with Messrs Cage and Perlman in fine fettle.