Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Reckoning Review: A Strong Female Robinhood-Style Action Film

CAST: Charlotte Kirk, Joe Anderson, Steven Waddington, Sean Pertwee

Release date: February 5, 2020
Running time: 101 minutes
Starring:  Charlotte Kirk (Ocean’s 8, How To Be Single), Joe Anderson (Across The Universe, The Crazies), Steven Waddington (The Imitation Game, “The Tudors”) and Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers, Equilibrium)
Directed By: Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent)
Neil Marshall, Charlotte Kirk, and Edward Evers-Swindell 

Set against the backdrop of the Great Plague and subsequent witch-hunts against women, Grace Haverstock (Charlotte Kirk) must grapple with the tragic untimely death of her husband Joseph (Joe Anderson) in a society completely consumed by fear and death. Because she rejects her landlord Squire Pendleton’s (Steven Waddington) advances, she is falsely accused of being a witch and thrown in jail for a crime she didn’t commit. Grace must endure physical persecution at the hands of England’s most ruthless witch-hunter Judge Moorcroft (Sean Pertwee) and face her own inner demons as the Devil himself starts to work his way into her mind.

DIRECTOR: Neil Marshall  WRITERS: Neil Marshall, Charlotte Kirk, Edward Evers-Swindell  STORY BY: Antony Jones and Edward Evers-Swindell
The Reckoning feels like more of an action / dramatic epic than a historically accurate film.  It is inspired by actual events, but the entire film is fantasy story through and through with a strong female lead to eventually meet out justice to the witchhunters.  Think of a high action robin hood style film.  The Reckoning starts with a strong opening, with events in the past syncing up to current events for our protagonist Grace.  The scenes, the music, they all come together to start this film on a dramatically high note.  And I also do like a feature set in the middle ages with a strong female lead.  I am sure a lot of what she endures is accurate to what women experienced in this time: having no power, being treated like objects and manipulated by men, and shamed for the most mundane things.  All of these are depicted in this film.  And the film also depicts some pretty heinous torture devices that I imagine are also accurate.  It pulls no punches and lead Charlotte Kirk must endure a host of horrible implements throughout her ordeal.

However, this film feels like a movie from another time.  It feels like a 90s Robin Hood type film, with overtly evil and overacted main villains and a type of high energy drama that is not seen much today.  And the film's story, although serving the purpose of setting up Grace and having her get captured and tortured for witchcraft, did seem like it was a little convoluted.  The overarching scheme felt too complicated for the situation.  It also felt like some ideas were touched on without fully being developed, like her connection with evil and what that did for her.  And the film generally has really good, brutal effects, but occasionally will have a noticeable CG effect thrown in that breaks immersion.  However, if you are looking for a strong female protagonist in a medieval, Robin Hood style film, the Reckoning has that.  Just make sure to be prepared for some brutal torture and an overly long build up to the final sequence.

The Reckoning's strong female take on a Great Plague / Witchcraft action drama has some brutal effects, strong music, and a high energy conclusion.  

Rent it.

Drama great plague medieval renaissance gothic action witch witchcraft
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RLJE Films and Shudder will release the action / horror THE RECKONING In Theaters, On Demand and Digital February 5, 2021.

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