Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Sword of God Review: A Devoutly Atmospheric Masterpiece

Release date: April 14, 2020
Running time: 102 minutes
Starring: Krzysztof Pieczynski, Karol Bernacki, Wiktoria Gorodecka, Jacek Koman

Two men in the early Middle Ages come to a pagan land: one to bring Christianity, the other to find his way of living. They choose two different ways of reaching the pagans.  Their conflicting approaches cause issues between themselves and their new flock, and might result in consequences that neither of them anticipated.

Sword of God is just a masterpiece.  It is so insanely well done in all aspects that it really transports you into this alternate world.  The setting is amazing and otherworldly.  It fully immerses you in this fictional but authentic seeming medieval village.  It feels like the setting of the old Micheal Crichton novel, Eaters of the Dead.  And on top of the setting, the costumes and cast are phenomenal as well.  The costumes look authentic for the time, with realistic looking armor and weapons for the two devout visitors, and the inhabitants of the strange land covered in furs and bones.  The two visiting Christian missionaries have a serious, pious mentality that is slightly different for each of them but thoroughly convincing.  And the native inhabitants are fantastic, with their actors completely dedicated to their beliefs and mannerisms.  On top of how they act, the pagans are also covered in a white paint that gives them an otherworldly look that is fascinating and disturbing to see.  Seriously, this just an amazingly done film that truly transports you to this fantasy setting.  

This is all helped by a determined, well chosen color palate and cinematography that sells this as an otherworldly endeavor.  The movie starts with this wonderful washed out and matte color setup that is beautiful and perfectly tuned for the setting.  And the cinematography does an amazing job to highlight this, with wonderful shot choices and camera angles that emphasize the colors and lighting.  It also emphasizes the horror aspects of this, with fog and lighting that really puts you on edge.  And all of this is helped with by a general lack of CG, so nothing on screen distracts you from this wholly engrossing film.  Sword of God features some really amazing sounds as well.  It starts off right with the sound of rushing water filling your ears, and just goes from there.  The dialogue of the natives keeps you on edge, and many sounds and effects are added to give you an uneasy feeling.  And the music is very well done, filling the scene when needed and drowning out the other sounds at times for dramatic effect.  

Along with everything else about this film, the story of Sword of God does not disappoint.  It starts off simple enough, but quickly adds complexity and twists that keep you guessing what will happen next.  There are some really interesting character changes that add fuel to this religious fire, and the overall ending is a surprise and ultimately satisfying.  Sword of God does everything right and if you are slightly interested in fantasy, historical drama, or horror, then this is one to check out.

Sword of God is a devoutly atmospheric masterpiece, with an amazing setting, wonderful, immersive effects and costumes, and an otherworldly aesthetic that will have you praying for more. 

Watch it.

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