jump to navigation

“Medieval” is a violent but fascinating film September 6, 2022

Posted by ronannarbor in Uncategorized.

Medieval (called Jan Źiźka internationally) arrives in time to salvage an early September weekend with original programming. Set in the early days of Czech Bohemian hero Jan Źiźka’s formative mercenary years, it’s a story most Americans are not at all familiar with.

In the early 1400’s the Catholic Church is in such disarray that there are two popes…one in Italy and one in France. In order to install a new King, the Holy Roman Empire needs the blessing of the Italian Pope. Źiźka and his men are paid to protect King Wenceslas on his journey, but things fall apart right from the getgo. See, there’s another King who also wants to be crowned by the Pope. What follows is an origin story for Źiźka based on familial revenge, a kidnapped lady in waiting, and shifting allegiances in the very volatile Bohemian world.

Źiźka was known for innovative “modern” warfare techniques and these are on full display here in bone-crunching, smoke-filled, violent sequences not for the squeamish. But there is more at play here. The film beautifully illustrates the horrors of war not when hoards of thousands skirmish with opposing hoards of thousands…but rather how battles are won a few dozen warriors at a time. It’s intimate and dangerous and ultimately grisly and violent.

The cast is uniformly solid with particularly good performances by Michael Caine and Matthew Goode. Sophie Lowe holds her own against the ridiculous men around her, and Ben Foster brings his serious sense of acting to his leading role.

Medieval is the most expensive Czech film ever made, although it was only bankrolled with an English speaking cast. So there is that.

I left highly satisfied, even if the final act gets a bit Shakespearean by its conclusion. Not recommended for those who have light stomachs for grim, bloody, decapitating violence, but if you stick with this, I think you will also feel fulfilled by this captivating tale. And it will probably send you to Google these people, some real, some added for the story.
Recommended. Opens Sept 9th nationwide and overseas.

%d bloggers like this: