Review: Pilgrimage

6 10

PLOT: In 13th century Ireland, a group of monks, led by a young novice (Tom Holland) must escort a sacred relic through deadly territory, with only a mute servant (Jon Bernthal) with a past to protect them from soldiers seeking to claim their prize.

REVIEW: PILGRIMAGE is probably destined for some notoriety as the movie Tom Holland and Jon Bernthal were making when they got their individual, star-making Marvel roles, with Holland landing Spider-Man, and Bernthal – The Punisher. As such, this can’t help but be a curio for Marvel fans, being a modest character piece that aims to be closer to THE NAME OF THE ROSE than “Game of Thrones”.

One thing that’s very interesting is how it’s a linguistic smorgasbord, with many of the actors (save Bernthal – who plays a mute) getting a workout, handling Gaelic, French and English dialogue throughout. Holland, as the pious young novice, is exceptionally good considering his age, and if the Marvel bosses got a look at the rushes for this one, I’m sure they had no doubt as to his ability.

In that regard, PILGRIMAGE is worth seeing, but it’s also a mistake to see this as a straight-up actioner, which is what the posters and trailers are marketing it as. It’s artier, or more serious fare than that, with much dialogue, and the big conflict being spiritual rather than physical, when they run awry of Richard Armitage’s French knight, and his troop, who want the relic (which is little more than a rock) for their own end.

The performances are good, and director Brendan Muldowney stretches his modest budget, with an appropriately gritty look that feels authentic. However, PILGRIMAGE is a tad dull, and you’ll yearn for a little more swordplay – which only comes every now and then. Most of the action is courtesy of Bernthal, who, when then trouble starts, chucks his shirt to reveals a muscular, scarred torso, and some fancy sword moves. His fights are brutal, almost shockingly so, with some major gore moments sprinkled-in that are so hardcore they also seem satiric – like MONTY PYTHON & THE HOLY GRAIL.

These quick, brutal bits are they only signs of levity in what’s otherwise a dark, dour, serious film, and will probably only play to a modest audience – explaining why – despite the actors – it’s getting such a low-key release. It’s not a bad film, but it’s more of an acquired taste, and a little too low-key to really work on an epic scale. Movies like this demand a lot of style, but Muldowney, who takes the material seriously, shoots this in a very straightforward way. A little more flash would have made this go down a little easier.

Source: JoBlo.com



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