Season of the Witch – Movie Review
The one thing you can always expect from any movie that casts Nicholas Cage in the leading role is a rollercoaster ride of emotion. And we’re not talking the good kind of emotion, the kind where you’re touched by the movie or deeply disturbed by a scene, we’re talking about that flurry of confused emotion where you are sure that what you are watching is suppose to be taken seriously, but you can’t stop yourself from laughing. Or that one minute, the movie holds some hope of being more than horrible and the next something ridiculous happens to ruin any potential it had of you not hating it.
That’s what Season of the Witch gives you. Theoretically, it held potential to be a somewhat entertaining movie. There were good moments, clever lines, impressive acting from some of the supporting characters, but none of that can ever overshadow how awful Nicholas Cage is. (For the record, if you haven’t noticed, we are not a fan.)
Whether it’s his choppy delivery, his ill-timed pauses or just his overall unsettled look (specifically the unnaturally blonde and wavy hair piece he was sporting proudly), we could not look past the fact that it was Nicholas Cage and accept this character for who he was suppose to be. And to this day, we still can’t understand how he gets all the roles that he does. But we digress.
Season of the Witch takes us back to the good old days when the Church reigned power over most of the land and their army of puppets did God’s bidding by killing off masses of sinners who defied what the Church believed in. Behman (Cage) and his right hand man Felson (Ron Perlman) are knights leading the Church’s crusade until one night they are sent into a village to slaughter hundreds of innocent women and children. Disgusted with their actions, the knights desert the Church’s army and take to traveling, carrying with them guilt and vicious inner demons.
During their travels, they come across a small village overcome with a plague. People are dying and everyone is convinced that the cause of the illness is due to a mysterious girl (Claire Foy) who wandered into their village, wreaking horror as she went. This girl, of course, is deemed a witch and locked up in a cell for holding until she can be transported up into the mountains to the Monks temple, where the sole ancient book that contains the holy scriptures to rid a witch of her powers, among other helpful demonic remedies, remain.
Behman and Felson are enlisted by the dying churchhead of the small village to escort the witch to the temple for the monks to decide her fate. His trusty priest, Debelzaq (Stephen Campbell Moore), his best knight Ekhart (Ulrich Thomsen) and altar boy Kay (Robert Sheehan) tag along for the journey. Along the way, strange things start to happen and Behman struggles with his inner demons and desire to save the girl. The question remains – is she a witch, or isn’t she?
The answer, of course, is the climax of the movie, and we have to admit it seemed a little unexpected. Or maybe not unexpected, but definitely disappointing. The ultimate twist took the movie in a different direction that we personally felt was, well, stupid. It turned a hopeful little film into a typical Hollywood movie and it probably could have ended stronger had they remained on the path they were initially traveling on.
That said, the film did have its moments and as mentioned, the supporting characters were redeeming. Pearlman was a pleasant distraction from his counterpart, providing comic relief and the general tough guy attitude. Foy was eerily radiant as the witch, slipping between innocence and deceit too easily. She effectively kept you debating whether or not she really was a witch, and furthermore, debating whether or not you really wanted her to be a witch.
Even Thomsen and Moore proved their acting chops held more credibility than Cage. And Sheehan, well, every movie needs that wide eyed disheveled pretty boy to swoop in and eventually carry on the legacy. And he carries it well.
Ultimately, Season of the Witch proves to be more tolerable than some of Cage’s previous movies, but it’s going to take a lot more than a thrown together mystical film to ever get us to look past a Nicholas Cage performance. Or a very awful hair piece.
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