Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing Medieval 'Mystery', 20 July 2005
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Reckoning [DVD] (DVD)
The Reckoning is an engaging but not always entirely successful medieval murder/conspiracy thriller that probably aimed to tap into the 'Name of the Rose' market only to be shelved for so long you could have mistaken it for a Miramax movie. I first saw the film in 2001 more than two years before its blink-and-you'll-miss-it theatrical release, and in the interim it went through some tweaking and rescoring, although this is mainly for the better - the ending seems a little tighter (although the fate of the killer still fails to convince) and Vincent Cassell's Norman lord is introduced much earlier into the proceedings, which helps considerably (in the previous cut he was a remote, faceless presence for most of the movie), although Gina McKee's role seems less substantial than I remember.
There are still problems in the film, including a couple of weak performances (the usually reliable Ewan Bremner and a flat and disinterested Matthew McFadyen in particular), and the impressive set still looks more like the Spanish mountains than the Yorkshire Dales, but there's still much to admire in this tale of a priest on the run who falls in with a group of travelling actors only to find a chance for redemption when, while performing a play about a child murder in a village, he discovers that the deaf and dumb healer sentenced to hang for the crime is clearly innocent. Paul Bettany is fine in the lead, although Willem Dafoe inadvisedly succombs to the siren call of attempting a Yorkshire accent and ending up with something very odd indeed (previous victims include Donald Sutherland in 'Revolution'), and you can even spot 'Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg in a brief bit as a gaoler. Despite being a little too fond of overhead shots here, Paul McGuigan's an interesting director with talent to burn who has yet to make an entirely successful film, but this is still well worth a look.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first morality play and a medieval murder mystery, 26 Dec 2005
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Reckoning [DVD] (DVD)
"The Reckoning" is based on the novel "Morality Play" by Barry Unsowrth. A morality play was a theatrical allegory that was popular in Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. They involved a protagonist who is met by the personification of moral attributes, such as "Conscience," who try to persuade him to live a Godly life rather than follow the path of evil. The morality plays grew out of the religiously based mystery and miracle plays and are important in theater history because they represent a key shift to secular drama. "The Reckoning" is a fictional tale about the first such morality play, so it reminds me of "Stage Beauty," a recent film that depicts the beginning of method acting, as well as older films like "In the Name of the Rose," because of both its medieval setting and the fact that there is a murder mystery at the heart of the tale.
Nicolas (Paul Bettany), a priest who must flee after being caught in the act of adultery, joins a company of players headed by Martin (Willem Dafoe). Martin's father has just died and Nicolas is able to join the troupe because they need somebody to play the bit parts. But when Nicolas is able to give Martin's father a Christian burial (they cannot afford to pay for the rites), a bond is established between the two men. However, the miracle plays they perform are no longer drawing the crowds or the money they need to survive, so Martin proposes they give the people what they might want to see. A dramatization about the murder of a local boy by a witch who has been sentenced to death. The players find out enough about the case to be able to present it to the town, but Martin and Nicolas have suspicions that the woman has been falsely convicted, and when they perform the play it becomes clear the townspeople know more about the crime than anyone is saying. The murder of the boy is but one of several in recent years.
What the players have done is dangerous. Tobias (Brian Cox), the oldest of the players thinks that simply dramatizing something that is not in the Bible oversteps the line. The King's Justice (Matthew MacFadyen) pointedly tells Nicolas to drop the matter and leave town. The truth is out there, but learning it and revealing it could be a death sentence. But for Nicolas it is not just that the girl, Martha (Elvira Mínguez), is innocent and that she has a name. My performing their play Martin has given her hope, and that brings with it an obligation to see the matter through, no matter what the cost to body and soul.
The story told in "The Reckoning" moves along at a nice clip and ultimately the whodunit part of the story overwhelms the lessons of theater history, but the performance of these medieval dramas is quite fascinating (I have seen such a play performed live, "The York Crucifixion," but as theater comes today being able to do so is rare). I also liked that the story is set so far in the past that knowledge about such simple things as what happens to a body when it is hung or after death are vital clues. Nicolas does not know everything, but as a priest he knows more than most people, and seeing a murder mystery in which the clues are so basic at a time when Patricia Cornwell and "CSI: Las Vegas" make forensic investigation cutting edge science was rather refreshing.
Paul McGuigan did this film before he directed "Wicker Park," and he recreates the squalor of peasant life at that period. The final performance of the morality play not only takes place at night by torchlight, but as snow begins to fall. Bettany and Dafoe play well off of each other, representing idealism and practicality that bring out the best in each other, and Mínguez as the mute Martha has a quite effective scene when she is questioned about the murder. However, the casting of this film also gave away a key part of the mystery because the Lord De Guise is played by Vincent Cassel, who played Gilles de Rais in "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc." The latter was a French aristocrat and national hero who was later convicted of torturing, raping and murdering hundreds of children. Seeing Cassel in the role of De Guise suggested an instant connection to me, and while I know my interpretation is idiosyncratic, it did effect how I enjoyed the film. Regardless, this was a captivating film and it easy to see why the talent was drawn to the script.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Review, 15 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Reckoning [DVD] (DVD)
I found the movie by accident and after my wife and I watched it we thought that it was pretty good. We both didn't remember seeing it Play in the theatres but it is worth watching.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very good period drama, 12 Jan 2011
By 
Andrew K. Moss "Imagineer" (Northwich,Cheshire Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Reckoning [DVD] (DVD)
Given the quality of the actors I expected this to be pretty good.What I hadn't expected was quite how good.It was obviouslly made on a smallish budget:the locations were permissable in a european rather than post Anglo saxon England setting.However this did not detract from the story,which is set in post conquest England when much of the country was under the heel of the Norman tyrany.The plot is good and you will watch far worse and pay more for it.Give it a go,in particular if your into early period drama.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DARK............................, 17 May 2008
By 
Saturnicus "Saturnicus" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Reckoning [DVD] (DVD)
Paul Bettany shines as the former monk who joins a troupe of actors whilst on the run as an adulterer and murderer.
The film is blased on a Morality Play and succeeds in that, but the English scenery is not convincing and is reminiscent of that in "The Name of the Rose" - so obviously Spanish.
The players find themselves in a village where a woman is awaiting execution for murder. PB does the Brother Cadfaels and in a precious short time performs an autopsy on the victim and proves the maid innocent. What our modern police could learn from these Medieval monks!
All in all, apart from Mr Bettany, the acting is muted and restrained, though Mr Dafoe looks extraordinarily handsome having more hair that usual, perhaps.
I am not familiar with the director's work, but it was a decent film and atmospheric (I had to put on the central heating half way through).
Worth as viewing if you like Ye Anciente Whodunnits.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars judge josh on The Reckoning, 25 Oct 2010
By 
Josh "The Claw" (Wherever I'm needed) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Reckoning [DVD] (DVD)
The Reckoning is an excellent medieval murder mystery, based on the Barry Unsworth book - Morality Play (also worth a look). It creates an authentic feel of the age, e.g. having a French speaking Norman lord, with plenty of thought provoking drama, humour and spectacle. The story is not a cheerful one, however, and is not the standard 'blockbuster' formula and checklist of ingredients. But it is an engaging dramatization of good book, with a great cast of actors. The Reckoning is recommended for lovers of interesting stories and sincere film making.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Reckoning [DVD]
The Reckoning [DVD] by Paul McGuigan (DVD - 2004)
4.95
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews