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Sales Rank: 2,393
Actors: Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne Director: Christopher Smith Rating: Features: Color, DVD, NTSC, Widescreen Running Time: 102 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Release Date: May 10, 2011 Theatrical Release Date: 2011 Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
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The year is 1348. Europe has fallen under the shadow of the Black Death. As the plague decimates all in its path, fear and superstition are rife. There are rumors of a village hidden in marshland that the plague cannot reach. There is talk of a necromancer who leads the village and is able to bring the dead back to life. Ulric Sean Bean, a fearsome knight, is charged by the church to investigate these rumors. Joined by a young monk and a small consort of soldiers, the journey ahead will lead them into the heart of darkness where faith is challenged and put to the ultimate test.
A potent combination of medieval combat and religious paranoia, Black Death serves as an outstanding example of how a genre film can smuggle in some surprisingly mature themes without missing a kinetic step. Set during the late 14th century, Dario Poloni's script follows a young monk Eddie Redmayne struggling with his faith as the bubonic plague runs rampant through Europe. As he contemplates fleeing England for a forbidden romance, he is tasked with leading a team of bishop-appointed mercenaries led by Sean Bean on their search for a rumored necromancer in the wilderness. After the group hacks their way through packs of infected marauders and nonbelievers, their search finally leads them to a pastoral town mysteriously free of the disease. When the town's beautiful leader Carice van Houten displays what appears to be mystical healing powers, the monk must decide which side God is truly on. Director Christopher Smith, previously responsible for the commendably bent time-travel saga Triangle, creates a fantastically earthy environment for the film's increasingly supernatural possibilities to take hold. Bolstered by Bean's commanding performance, this is a terrifically grim--and occasionally terribly gory--action film that delivers an unsettling sting in its tail. --Andrew Wright