Directed by Michael J. Bassett
Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) is a privateer seeking redemption and hoping not to be dragged to hell by the demons he knows are after his soul. After encountering a demon in North Africa that wishes to take his soul to hell, Solomon has taken up refuge in a monastery but is soon forced to leave by visions. And now he must return to his ancestral estate to face a powerful evil and begin his own journey to redemption.
A quote echoes through the whole movie: “There are many paths redemption. Not all of them peaceful.” I’m not sure if it was a tagline for the movie but it’s basically the theme of the movie. The movie all is all about one man when confronted with the terrible things he has done seeking to save his soul by finding redemption. Kane’s path to redemption is less traditional than others (but pretty for a violent action hero).
This movie is based upon the literary character of Solomon Kane but the story itself is an original one. I don’t know too much about the character. However, I can say this is a good movie. It feels and it looks different. It’s very atmospheric and immerses itself in the era in which it’s set. It’s got great action and a great story. It’s probably one of the better movies that you’ve never seen.
One thing I like about this movie is that characters are introduced and not wasted. They all serve a purpose other than exposition. For example, there’s a family that Solomon meets on his way home. It’s a brief encounter but these people become important to the story. In fact, nothing is put into this movie to fluff it out. It all serves to build on the narrative. From what we see in the opening scene on, nothing is put in for no good reason.
There was a clear delineation in the movie between good and evil. No shades of gray even though the main character was rather violent. They also didn’t shy away from the concept of redemption nor did they shy away from people seeking it through religious means. That’s not something I think is too common in movies anymore. Either the character learns to live with what they have done, or religion never enters into the picture.
Aside from issues with CGI, the movie looks great. The costuming is spot on. It doesn’t look cheap which in period films is always a risk. Too often they pick cheap fabrics and use patterns that look as if they were the ones sold at a hobby shop. Not here. The scenery looks like it’s in old Europe. They nail it there. It helps to give the movie a genuinely unique atmosphere.
As I said earlier I do you have an issue with the CGI. In an otherwise great movie this is a place where they fall short. Too often it looks like above average computer video game graphics. In a film that otherwise effectively immerses you in its world, the graphics take you out of it. And unfortunately the film is book ended by CGI heavy scenes. Everything else in those scenes is well executed enough that it gets you through them but it’s a noticeable weak spot in an otherwise strong film.
The script is solid. And the ending makes clear they intended at least one follow up movie if not a series. Maybe things would’ve been different if they had taken an existing story and adapted it. I don’t know. The story here however is a great origin film regardless.
I really wish they had made another film because I like this movie. There was so much potential for future films here. Overall, this is a good movie and it’s unfortunate that it’s not better known. I recommend you see this. It’s a great story with great acting. And the action scenes are amazing.