The TV Pick of the Week – 06/02/13
Going to the cinema is expensive, buying DVDs is expensive, renting movies is expensive and torrenting is illegal (and, more importantly, doesn’t guarantee good quality sound and image). Luckily, films sometimes appear on TV. Here’s the best one this week.
Wednesday 6th February
BBC1: 11.40pm – 1.15am
Occasionally there are some absolute gems that are heinously overlooked by critics and audiences alike, and Black Death can certainly be thrown into that category. Although one can always hope it finds its niche alongside the classic Witchfinder General and become a cult classic for future generations.
Set in 1348, the narrative sees a young priest named Osmund as he guides a group of soldiers, led by Sean Bean’s Ulric, who are searching for a village that seems to be untouched by the Black Death. Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of the morally conflicted Osmund is superb – his reason for leaving with the men is so he can rendezvous with a girl he’s fallen in love with, a dilemma that makes him question his own faith as the character is forced to choose between his monastic life, and his love for Averill. When the group arrive at the village they find a witch controlling the villagers through drugs and manipulation, touching on the use of power, cruelty and religion in society. For the absorbing final third alone, this movie is worth the late night price of admission (besides which, do you really have to be awake for work on Thursday? Nothing ever happens on Thursdays. You know it, I know it, and your boss knows it’s just a doss.)
The action is handled by British director Christopher Smith, whose previous films include Creep – the fairly decent horror flick set in the depths of the London Underground and Severance – another fairly decent horror film, although one in which you’ll inevitably find yourself thinking ‘this would be perfection if Danny Dyer – sorry “Dah-knee Doy-er” - hadn’t been cast in a lead role’.
This week’s pick also allows me to indulge in my love of Sean Bean (although saying that, I’m not half the fan in comparison to whoever curates ‘The Mighty Bean’ fansite). He’s a simply fantastic actor and I’ve religiously watched everything he’s been in, with the sole exception of the recent Silent Hill: Revelations. I love the man dearly, but I’m not such an out-and-out masochist in order to wilfully sit through another turgid mess like the original Silent Hill.
As an aside, anyone want to join me in starting a Kickstarter campaign to make a film where the legendary Sean Bean actually survives to the credits? It’s become so culturally ingrained you just count down the minutes and wonder how inventive they’ll be with the deed. In fact, it’s probably not ruining any suspense to check out this infographic that FHM knocked up – it does give plot spoilers about Black Death, but like Gerard Butler shouting obnoxiously in every film he’s in, it seems as though it’s some unwritten rule that the Bean must die.
This was written by Robert James Taylor. He is, for all intents and purposes, a human.