Thursday, 4 September 2008

"Seraphim Falls". A Review Of The Movie On BLU RAY.

“…Let Him Bleed…”

Both Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson have been putting in superb performances in their last few movies, and the first pairing of them in "Seraphim Falls" is proof that both are now genuine class acts - only getting better with age and skill. Brosnan is a revelation in Seraphim Falls (as he was in “The Matador”) just as Neeson was in “Batman Returns”, “Kingdom Of Heaven”, and especially his Oscar-winning turn in “Kinsey”. In their latter years, each has acquired a grizzly realism that is serving them both well and their choices in movies.

The story is fairly simple - two ex Civil War soldiers of varying rank are locked into a Frontier manhunt in 1868. The relentless pursuance takes them from the snowy slopes of Ruby Mountain down through freezing rivers and into open pilgrim-filled ranges. It continues through homesteads and finally to a desert area that in many ways resembles both of them - arid, empty, drained and dry. Brosnan is the hunted and Neeson the pursuer, but we only find out as the movie slowly moves on, ‘why' Neeson’s character Carver is so obsessed with hunting Brosnan's character Gideon - and not just killing him either - but making him bleed and hurt as much as possible (dialogue above). It's essentially a cowboy chase movie, but done with such style and intelligence, that it grips you for the first hour like a Terminator that just won't stop. The support cast is all uniformly excellent too, but it's the two leads that hold it together.

The cinematography is spectacular and the look and dialogue just right. But it's let down as some reviewers have quite rightly pointed out by an odd last twenty minutes - that in many ways spoils the great journey you just made with these two essentially good men locked into the horrible aftermath of war. Very old fashioned in ways, but hugely enjoyable - I'm reminded of "Jeremiah Johnson" from 1971 with Robert Redford and "Black Robe" from 1991 by director Bruce Beresford (Tender Mercies and Breaker Morant) - two fantastic frontier 'story' films that are rarely seen, but worth every second of your time seeking them out.

The BLU RAY is now only a fiver new on Amazon - which is some kind of bargain on a format that isn’t exactly chockers with them. As you can imagine the image is superb and adds a great deal to your enjoyment of the movie. The BLU RAY also carries over the short but informative “Making Of” from the original DVD issue – it has interviews with all the principal leads – clearly enjoying themselves and drawn by a good script and great locations. There’s an audio commentary with Pierce and Director David Von Ancken and Production Designer Michael Hanan. Subtitles are in English for the Hard-Of-Hearing only. But it’s the driving story and picture quality that will keep you coming back.

Having sat through some truly appalling films of late, “Seraphim Falls” was like a breath of fresh air to me - and I wish I'd seen at the movies.


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