“Wrongly accused of a crime she didn’t commit, a frontier woman-turned-fugitive is hunted by a vengeful preacher in the menacing inferno of the old American West.”
That’s the official synopsis for the thriller Brimstone from writer/director Martin Koolhoven. While it is a correct description of the plot, it does not do the film justice.
I watch A LOT of movies, it comes along with the job. But I have to admit, very few films burn into my mind like Brimstone did. After watching it I sat back, feeling as if I had personally been wounded. During the film’s duration, I stepped into Liz’s (Dakota Fanning) world, a world filled with depravity, incest, torture, fear, and strife and it was heart breaking.
So few female characters are given the strength and determination that Koolhoven gifted to Liz, and for that I say “thank you”. Fanning was absolutely fantastic. In my opinion, there is no question, it is her best performance to date. She perfectly captured the toughness Liz had to have to survive perfectly without neglecting the pain her character was suffering.
The villain of the film is a callus, hateful, preacher, obsessed with marrying his own daughter, Liz, after her mother (Carice van Houten) does not fulfill her duties as a wife. He doesn’t have a seconds thought about killing anyone who gets in his way or anyone one that Liz holds dear. After Liz wounds him twice, he still won’t stop hunting her down. Finally, when the film hits its peek, this twisted man sets his sights on a new wife, Liz’s young daughter. But Liz will not give up without a fight.
Played by Guy Pearce, the preacher comes across as much of a man as he does a devil. The entire film he is stone faced with no emotion, a true psychopath. Cold and hard, his mission is to take away everything Liz loves as a punishment for not bending to his will and becoming his wife. Even when Kit Harington’s character Samuel steps in to save Liz, the preacher appears to be unkillable.
The ending of Brimstone is one that you won’t see coming. When the final scene ends your first thought will be, ‘No, it can’t end like this.’ But when all is said and done it is fitting and what seems like a tragedy is actually a triumph. I don’t want to say too much. I would hate to spoil it for you.
This brilliant masterpiece goes darker than most films ever dare to go. It has something for everyone, but most importantly, it is an amazing story with near-perfectly executed characters. Brimstone is hands down one of the best movies of 2017. Luckily, it is now out on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD.
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