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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Frontier Woman Hunt
by Betty Jo Tucker

A more disturbing movie than Brimstone would be hard to find. It’s kind of like Night of the Hunter -- if directed by Quentin Tarantino. In fact, Guy Pearce’s Brimstone preacher might as well have HATE and LOVE tattooed on his hands. But this time, instead of two youngsters, a diabolical preacher goes after a woman -- played splendidly by Dakota Fanning -- who’s more powerful than she looks. And this survival epic takes place during the cruel years of the American Frontier -- a time when women were looked upon more as property than persons.

As we watch the tale unfold, we become deeply involved with the main character and her determination to evade her pursuer. Realistic location shots, inspired cinematography and excellent period costumes help draw us into Liz’s (Fanning) hardscrabble world.  In the role of the preacher,  Pearce gives one of his best performances. He looks scary, talks scary and makes us cringe whenever he appears on camera.

      Fire and brimstone conjure deep fears.

Brimstone, the film, won’t stop your tears.

Gruesome and dark as it can be.

But could I stop watching? Not me!

 

An evil preacher gone quite mad

hunts a strong woman he once had.

Vengeance he seeks. And that’s not all.

He thinks he’s God. He’ll make the call.

 

The woman he wants won’t give in.

She fights for life and tries to win.

We care about this fugitive.

She is the one that we forgive.

 

Frontier setting lends sense of place.

Nature’s changes enhance the chase.

Intense portrayals all around.

Backwards story even seems sound.

Written and directed by Martin Koolhoven, Brimstone uses a different type of storytelling: it’s not told chronologically. This may confuse you, but please have patience. Because events shown on screen are not revealed in the order of their happening, some awesome surprises await the viewer.

My major complaint has to do with the casting of someone (name withheld because of spoiler danger) who does not resemble Fanning to play Liz at a younger age.  Although she’s a fine actress, her lack of  resemblance to the leading lady took me out of the film during some scenes. And I also have to mention that my Inner Church Lady found the whorehouse sequences as well as some of the violence much too graphic.    

Still, at 148 minutes long, Brimstone definitely gives adult viewers their money’s worth.  Plus, Kit Harington fans get to see their “Game of Thrones” hero as a convincing Western gunslinger in a couple of key scenes.    

(Released by Momentum Pictures and rated “R” for brutal bloody violence, strong sexual content including disturbing behavior, graphic nudity and language.)

For more information about Brimstone, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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