Brimstone full movie review - Don't blame the actors
Have just seen this at the London Film Festival. I was looking forward to it a great deal because I like films about this era and the cast were all actors that I like.
Unfortunately this film misses the mark completely. It contains a lot very graphic, unflinching, gory violence. So much so that by the end of the film I was somewhat desensitized to it. In one scene a character is disemboweled and has his intestines wrapped around his neck.. I don't have a problem with violence and gore per se but in this film it felt like horror movie gore had invaded (and detracted from) a film trying to be a serious drama/thriller. A fair bit of the violence depicted is towards various child characters but, without any accompanying gravitas, these scenes just felt awkward and unnecessary. The film tells the story of the relationship between a sadistic preacher (Guy Pearce) and his step-daughter (Dakota Fanning). She spends most of her life trying to escape him but he always catches up with her and punishes her (for not agreeing to be his wife after her mother commits suicide). The film is basically an account of the many different ways in which he punishes her; beatings, rape, psychological abuse, murder of her loved ones etc. The film takes rather a long time to reach it's very predictable conclusion; she eventually kills him. I do not like this film but I lay blame for that entirely on the director. The actors all put in a good turn and do what is asked of them. But the film is very unimaginative and predictable. Completely without any subtleties or nuances. By the end of the film I felt as bludgeoned, lashed and beaten as some of the characters.