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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Solomon Kane . Michael J. Bassett (Director) Epic Tales Ltd (2009)

Superb and enthralling adventure film, anchored by a brilliant central performance, great action and superb storytelling. Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) a reformed pirate is trying to avoid violence in order to keep clear of the devil. He encounters a Puritan family planning on emigrating to America and they find themselves travelling though a devastated landscape. The family are attacked and Kane finds that he has to resume his violent ways to rescue the daughter. The action on the way to the thrilling conclusion is superbly staged, the cast are full of life and the supernatural elements are handled with flair.
The film tells the story of how Solomon Kane became the extraordinary character he is in the stories by Robert E. Howard. There is noting very original in the story of a man forced back to violence to do good, it all lies in the the telling. The film has the strength of mind to take itself and the story seriously, there is no winking at the audience. This gives the film a terrific force and allows the cast to bring their characters to vivid life. The budget has been well spent on the glorious locations and the great sets, the context for the story felt solid and severe.
James Purefoy is simply outstanding as Solomon Kane, convincing in every aspect of the story, the moment when he becomes the terrible Puritan avenger of the Howard stories is signalled with beautiful grace. Pete Postlethwaite as the father of the family Kane encounters on the road is a warm and credible. The villains are exactly as melodramatic as they should be, lead by the masked Overlord (Samuel Roukin), they still have a genuine menace and relish for mayhem.
This is a model of how to make a fantasy film adventure, it mixes the elements with care and attention to detail, catching the spirit of the stories with breathtaking skill. This film is an undiluted pleasure.

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