"Brimstone" is a suspenseful tale of retribution set at the end of the 19th century in the American West. Dakota Fanning plays a mute young woman Liz whose life changes dramatically when a vengeful and mysterious preacher (Guy Pearce) comes to town with sinister motives. Forced to go on the run and pursued across unforgiving terrain, where danger lurks around every corner, Liz soon learns that she'll need to engage in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse in order to turn the tables on her ruthless nemesis and come out alive.
Horrible film - felt awful for watching it
- Brimstone review by PR
This is the nastiest film I've ever watched - why the hell was it ever made? I reckon I'm pretty toughened to film violence & unpleasant themes & misogyny but this takes the biscuit. Wouldn't recommend to anyone. Hateful.
I can't agree with the other review. I found the film powerful and beautifully acted. Yes, the plot is not a sweet one, but there are fanatics and perverts in this world, and Guy Pearce plays one the most loathsome men to hit a movie screen in years. Dakota Fanning is great, and we see her life unfold but not in chronological order which some might find irritating. I loved this ploy. Being an American, I loved seeing the Old West...even if was really filmed in Spain.
This is a relentless, intense presentation of abuse and desperation.
It makes use of the western genre to develop a feminist take on the silencing of women: the female leads either have their tongues cut out or are made to wear iron masks. This makes for a powerful theme. The world of Brimstone is run by violent men, and the main villain is a murderous sadist.
There is a nod at the end to the survival spirit in the female psyche, but it is at great cost.
My one criticism is that the sheer darkness of it all becomes gruelling. The point could be made with a little less gratuitous violence e.g. the outhouse hanging and the belt-whipping of the young daughter.
Sometimes less is more.
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
A gripping, brutal Western
- Brimstone review by PB
This is unlike any Western I've ever seen, and it's all the better for it. Told non chronologically the story follows the life of a young woman (Elle Fanning) and a sadistic preacher (Guy Pearce) and is split into four distinct chapters. The structure works wonderfully and builds the suspense masterfully, earning entirely the two and a half hour running time.
Both Fanning and Pearce are truly superb, making this an absolute must watch for fans of the genre. Be warned though, it earns is 18 rating.
Fantstic potential given much too slow development and an unbelievable premise. I really didn't care what happened to which character - at the end I wished they were all dead
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
Overlong, slow, feminist-polemic western with a nasty comic character baddie men + lots of violence.
- Brimstone review by PV
The most impressive thing about this film is that it's written and directed by a Dutch guy and filmed in Spain, Germany and Hungary. Nothing in north America, but it convinces. The central baddie character is well played by Guy Pearce, though he is rather comic character.
Awful things about this movie are that it is so slow and overlong, and the 2-dimensional characters, esp the men all of whom are bad and nasty in contrast with all the women who are all victims and innocent in everything in every way. Yawn. The film is divided into several 'chapters' which is a trendy arty device, and relationships between people become clearer as we near the end of chapter 2 - at first, one wonders why the mute woman is so terrified of the new preacher. All will become clear...
This no doubt is a nod to the #metoo boohoo man-hating Hollywood fashion - but on the strength of this, such femi-films should be avoided at all costs. This sort of thing turns so easily into a misandrist cartoon with man baddies and woman goodies, if you're not careful. Is that really what an audience wants to see? I don't think so.
Lots of violence but so what? Doesn't bother me coz it's NOT REAL. Plenty of silly stupid cartoon violence in real comic book superhero films which I detest.
I hated the lush string-based sentimental score for this movie - always prodding the audience to cry at the sight of innocent women abused by nasty men - deeply manipulative, that. Ticking the boxes. Awful music.
One issue I always hate about films set in the 19th century - all the actors look TOO healthy and have perfect teeth - unlike REAL people in 19th century and present America (a British charity works for free to give poor Americans healthcare and dental care too, eg in New Orleans after the flood - their teeth are FAR worse than anything in Britain!)
Watch DEADWOOD the great US TV series with Lovejoy actor Ian McShane to see where they nicked a lot from (incl the brothel/bar, the Chinese trader, the pigs eating the corpses). Watch that for a superior version of 19th century America though that is very violent too.
Watch CAPE FEAR too (both versions) as that was a clear influence.
But if you really want to watch a GREAT movie about an evil preacher, then watch NIGHT OF THE HUNTER directed by the great actor Charles Laughton (Henry V!!! in 1930s film and the hunchback of Notre Dame too).
A BRILLIANT movie yet got such bad reviews on release that Laughton decided never to direct another film. Well done, evil critics. Now where did I put those man-eating pigs...
I was dreading to watch this film after reading all the reviews... but i can't say i loved it but it kept my interest all the way through.. I rate it a horror film .. The actors helped the plot but just got a little silly in the end...Class it as horror then you know what you are getting ..
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.
Gripping Dutch Western
- Brimstone review by Alphaville
Dutch writer/director Martin Koolhoven has fashioned an original, compelling and exciting Western (in English). While not quite the masterpiece that some would have, it’s a heady concoction. It’s divided into four chapters and plays with time as masterfully as Pulp Fiction. It’s filmed mainly in the mountains of central Europe but the wide landscapes are as convincing as anything in John Ford. The winter scenes have an almost mythic quality. Dakota Fanning and newcomer Emilia Jones make appealing heroines and ruthless stalker Guy Pearce is the most terrifying preacher-villain since Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter. Only would-be saviour Kit Harrington has the balls to stand up to him.
Chapter 1 begins starkly with episodic scenes left to stand on their own without any score, but once the various dramatic elements begin to fall into place, and a score kicks in to highlight the drama, it’s riveting. Chapter 2 ramps up the action and by Chapter 3 the characters, time shifts and plot are so engrossing that the 143 minute run time flashes by.
Many American critics unaccountably dismissed Brimstone as an exploitation film because of its treatment of women, but you could equally view it as a feminist film, as indicated by the title of Chapter 4: Retribution. It’s their loss. By getting hung up on political correctness they completely missed the thrilling motion picture that was unfolding on screen.
Sure it goes to some dark places that John Ford never would, but the way life and death in the old West is portrayed here is surely more realistic than a gunfight at sundown. There are certainly some unsettling scenes, especially involving 13yo Emilia Jones, but the camera holds back from anything horrific that would make it exploitative. Listen to the young actress on the DVD Extras saying how much fun she had on set.
Koolhoven was inspired by Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West and it shows in his mastery of mood and landscape. While he’s unlikely on the strength of one film to be put in the same bracket as Leone or Ford, he’s made one helluva Western