Director: Martin Koolhoven
Screenplay by: Martin Koolhoven
Starring: Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning, Emilia Jones and Kit Harington
Tagline: Retribution is coming
The Overview: Beware of spoilers…
Brimstone is the story of Liz (Fanning), the Reverend (Pearce) and their twisted relationship. The story is told out of order, so when we first see Liz, she is a young married woman. The Reverend shows up to the wilderness town where she lives and we quickly learn that he means to harm Liz and her family. As the story unfolds we learn that their relationship goes back to Liz’s childhood and no matter where she runs, the Reverend finds her.
I wanted to like Brimstone. It has an interesting premise. I’m a fan of Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning, Kit Harrington and westerns. The set up for Brimstone leaves the audience with many questions and as the story unfolds most are answered. What turned me off was the slow pace, excessive and redundant violence and an ending that left me wishing I’d checked out before the nearly 2 and a half hour run time.
Guy Pearce is an excellent actor and he convincingly plays one of the most despicable characters you can imagine. Dakota Fanning is Pearce’s equal as far as acting goes, and perhaps it is their talents that kept me watching. Kit Harrington takes some getting used to with his southern accent, but he isn’t in the film for much more than a glorified cameo. The film is divided into four parts 1) Revelation 2) Exodus 3) Genesis 4) Retribution and loses me in the last section. I was having doubts about the film before, but it is when Liz pulls a Riddick in Pitch Black move to escape being tied to a post that I realized my doubts were well founded.
Throughout the movie we believe that the Reverend is out to get retribution. My interpretation of the ending is that despite it being a downer, Liz is the one to get poetic justice. If that’s the case the ending just doesn’t work for me. Everyone but one person in Liz’s life is murdered and Liz commits suicide. Plus there’s the whole question if the Reverend is a real person or something else.
I wish I liked Brimstone more but I also realize it just wasn’t for me. For that reason Brimstone gets 1 of 5 stars.