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In 14th-century England, a young monk breaks his vow of chastity and flees the wrath of his bishop and fellow monks. A fugitive priest, he then witnesses the murder of a traveling performer--and subsequently, the mourning of actor by his fellow troupe members. He eventually becomes initiated into the troupe as a player, replacing the murdered man. They travel from town to town performing their standard morality play. They arrive in a town where a boy has been killed and a young deaf-mute girl has been imprisoned for the crime--sentenced to death for witchcraft and murder. Discarding the expected bible stories, the actors stage a performance based on the crime. Through the performance of the play, they discover that the townspeople know the young woman did not, in fact, commit the murder. The stage becomes a place where vital human truth is told. Thus, simultaneously, the fugitive priest comes to terms with his own crime and makes a powerful sacrifice, thereby redeeming himself.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The climactic cathedral showdown between Lord De Guise and Nicholas has many discontinuities and a moment where De Guise speaks when his mouth is shut. This is a deliberate artistic styling to make the scene disturbing and disorienting. See more »
Seek those things that are above, not those things that are upon the earth.
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I read the book first (Morality Play by W. Unsworth, very charming, with sophisticated plot about almost philosophical issues of truth and its interpretations) and then I found out there was a movie made according to it and allready re-run several times on the czech version of HBO TV channel.
I watched The Reckoning only few weeks ago and I think it is a very beautiful movie. Not that moving as it might have been, but beautiful to watch. Well, after a little dissappointment /movie's major issue and its somewhat morbid ending are VERY different from the book/. But only because I was expecting something.
The Reckoning catches - best of all "medieval" films I have seen - the atmosphere of medieval society, which seem so very oppressive to us, with its fears and firmly given orders and the necessity to belong somewhere, be a member of a defined group - or not to be. This is gloomy. The plot is not made exactly as a thriller - not much surprising. Its major point is, I gues, to make viewers feel, as if they were inside the story, could touch the real people. And the characters feel as real people, reserved towards strangers and not pretending warmth, when not feeling it.
It is played wonderfully. Bettany is amazing as melancholic hero-anti-hero, who sruggles with his fears and overcomes it, Dafoe is real master actor with slight tendencies to manipate the others, realistic but brave enough to join the desperate outcast and do something good and almost suicidal, Cox is down-to-earth old man, McKee is silent medieval woman with no voice within the group.And the major villain Cassel is a charismatic dictator-nihilist, who enjoys cat-mouse plays. See it while you can :-).
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