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|Index||101 reviews in total|
In 1501, in the Western Europe, in a period when the black plague is
jeopardizing the populations, an army of mercenary peasants leaded by
Martin (Rutger Hauer) fights side-by-side with the noble Arnolfini
(Fernando Hilbeck) to retrieve his castle, with the promise of a huge
reward. However, the band is betrayed by Arnolfini, and decides to pay
him back, assaulting and stealing a caravan under the command of
Arnolfini and his son and student, Steven (Tom Burlinson). In one of
the wagon is traveling the fiancée of Steven, Agnes (Jennifer Jason
Leigh), who is accidentally kidnapped and later raped by the group.
Agnes becomes Martin's mate, and the mercenaries decide to invade a
castle, without knowing that the army of Arnolfini is chasing them.
"Flesh & Blood" is one of the best movies in the Middle Ages I have ever seen: it is a Machiavellian, violent, amoral and hypnotic adventure, indeed very brutal, with the peasants being poor and ignorant people, with dirty clothes, spoiled teeth, living in dirty and muddy villages. Therefore, a vision totally different from Hollywood movies, with fancy castles and villages with beautiful people. The direction of Paul Verhoven is efficient and perfect as usual, and the entire cast has magnificent and very natural performances, highlighting the amazing Rutger Hauer in the role of Martin, and Jennifer Jason Leigh who has one of her best performances, in the stunning role of a young woman that uses her body to fight for survival in a hostile environment. I have this movie on VHS, but I bought the DVD recently released in Brazil by the distributor Continental, and it was a worthwhile investment, since the widescreen image and the sound are excellent. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Conquista Sangrenta" ("Bloody Conquest")
This is one of the most raw, refreshing and UN-Hollywood movies you
will ever see. It's truly a classic, and it stands alone, because
nothing like it has been done before. The movie is invariably
entertaining throughout, and it contains so many fresh ideas from
Verhoeven that it really has you saying 'wow' an awful lot. The rape
scenes that everybody freaks out about in their reviews aren't so
horrible....they get they're point across but aren't TOO sexually
explicit. Whats nice to see if you can call it that, is that the rape
is real, and horrible, its not meant to be provocative like it would be
in a Hollywood movie, not that i'm a fan of any rape scene, not at
all...but at least this is genuine. The performances aren't spectacular
or anything, but they are far far from weak. After one viewing this is
one of my favorite films, and I recommend it very highly to you.
This film should also be of interest to the highly religious because of all the imagery in it. Verhoeven is known for religious imagery and this film is full of it. It's very Christian in its themes, not that the characters are big in practice, but the movie has a lot of religious points to make.
Ok, we're talking about a movie that's basically titled Sex & Violence by
none other than Paul Verhoeven?! Those of us who know better should know
what to expect here. For those of you who don't, know this: the same man
responsible for the ultra sexy "Basic Instinct" and the ultra violent
"RoboCop" made his debut (in American cinema, at least) with this masterwork
concoction of ultra sex AND ultra violence.
Set in medieval Europe, the utter savagery of the sex and violence in this film is perhaps more at home than it could have been in any other setting. Depredation and debauchery: to the victor go the spoils, be they women, wealth, or what have you. And just a brief word about the plague: there's been a lot of criticism about the accuracy of its use in this movie. How 'bout the sheer ingenuity of it: the use of plague ridden slabs of dog as biological weaponry. Repugnant. Vile. Ingenious. Priceless, I loved it.
Rutger Hauer is excellent, this is probably my favorite performance of his. He's a power inflated pillager who is a bit of a tyrant to his followers. He's the devil we expect him to be. Jennifer Jason Leigh is surprisingly good in her youth as a sexually curious, devious little wench whose loyalties sway with the wind. She's a survivor.
Who this movie is NOT for: Those who have to think too hard about every movie they see, who demand a certain level of intellectuality (which is commendable). Plot holes? Are you kidding me, what plot? This isn't English Patient, its Sex and Violence. And for those with inhibitions about film content, who demand a certain level of decency (which is understandable), again, Sex and Violence, this movie is certainly not for you.
One of the few films I would call a masterpiece. But that's coming from someone who thinks Apocalypse Now is the finest cinematic experience ever realized, so take that for what its worth. RoboCop, I would call a masterpiece. U Turn, I would call a masterpiece. Big Lebowski, I would call a masterpiece. Flesh & Blood I would call a masterpiece.
Almost everyone who knows who Paul Verhoeven is, takes his knowledge
from his Hollywood pictures, starting from "Flesh & Blood". But the man
was famous director in Holland in 70's with some really great movies,
from which I especially recommend "Spetters", one time masterpiece with
very disturbing scenes and amazing story.
"Flesh & Blood" was his first Hollywood project and I was glad to discover that Verhoeven keeps sharping his talent. The movie offers to viewers highly intense experience, I remember watching it on one breath, and occupies the mind with very powerful images and philosophical meanings.
There is nothing average, simple or normal in this film. Everithing is complex, deep and extreme. There is no action, no move, no look, no word, that exists here without reason and meaning. If there is such thing as mathematic movie, this is it.
But don't be confused by this word. It's not some dry and intellectual movie like Bergman's stuff. The story is very humane and it's easy to sympathize and understand everyone. There are tears, struggles, disappointments, happiness, dreams, violence, death and a lot of sex. (Young and nude Jennifer Jason Leigh - a must see)
Dramatic value of the film, with symbolic conflicts and incredible behavior of all characters, exists on very high level from the beginning till the end. There are many surprising moments, everything bound together by twisted but consistent internal logic.
The combination of interesting story, great acting, smart directing and high quality production, makes a brilliant and truly hypnotizing movie.
There is no single and simple way to describe this cinematic experience or to criticize it. The film has very rich meanings, questions and conclusions. It presents many problematic and sensitive situations, and does this in very direct and very exaggerated way, which makes the whole thing very symbolic and formalistic. Something that fits with Paul Verhoeven's other great works, and makes him such a special artist.
And if you managed to read and fully understand my review, no matter if you liked it or not, this movie is for you.
After the success of Conan the Barbarian, the 80's saw a glut of Midevil
adventure movies, but none of them stand on the same ground as Flesh and
Blood. No movie, at the time, was more unabashedly filled with gore and
nakedness. It doesnt try to be glossy or romantic in any way but isnt
heavyhanded or serious either.
As he was so often in nearly every role he played, Rutger Hauer is perfect and at ease, alive, and eating up every frame of film he is in. A sad reminder of the days when he had so much promise, before he went downhill into Direct-To-Video Land.
Jennifer Jason Leigh is caught in one of her rare stilted preformances. Instead of going above the b-movie tone, she sort of wallows in it, but everyone else in the movie is also over the top and caricatured, so the film does not suffer and is invigorated instead of being obtuse.
The perfect blend of violence and sex, good and bad acting, b-movie tone with a studio budget. One enjoyable movie.
Gloriously over the top middle ages saga from Verhoeven,who certainly makes sure the film lives up to its title!This is an exraordinarily bloody film,and apart from the gore we get dead babies,brain damaged nuns,plague infected flesh,raping,pillaging,and some terrible table manners.This is hugely enjoyable stuff,with some terrific black humour.Verhoeven also stages some excellent action sequences.The opening battle to take back the city is good,as is the amazing contraption to scale the castle that gets destroyed,and the final battle inside the castle is gripping.Rutger Hauer is reliably excellent in this,not so much a loveable rogue as a steely eyed psycho.Even better is Jennifer Jason Leigh as the kidnapped princess,who turns out to be a cunning,scheming,bitch.Witness the scene where she turns the tables on Hauer,who is attempting to rape her.There's good support also from Susan Tyrrell as a revolting whore,and Ronald Lacey as a demented priest who seems to have stepped straight out of the film 'The Devils'.This is miles better than all the other sword and sorcery films that were around at the time,because Verhoeven pulls no punches,and instills the film with a savage wit.Great music as well from 'Conan' composer,Bazil Poleduris.This film deserves a sequel!
I decided to watch this film after a very heavy three day drinking
session and to be honest was not expecting a great deal. However, at
the end I deemed it to be the best two hours of my life. What a film!
The Cardinal (Ronald Lacey) was by far the most outrageous and stand out performance. I may be a bit biased from England but over the top acting from Lacey seems to be his forte and he certainly does not disappoint. Rutger puts in a typically strong performance as does Jason-Leigh and the supporting cast.
My favourite scene had to be Soldier Martin standing in front of the upturned carriage with the wheel representing the halo from the statue of Saint Martin. For me this was the icing on the cake.
The only question mark about this film is the contraption that Steven constructs to storm the castle. It definitely is a work of art and for those times would be considered quite an Engineering achievement. Not to mention the time in which it is built in such an effortless manner. However, PV seems to make this fit with the spirit of the film and after a few chuckles it is all forgiven.
Its certainly a film that will not stand up today with modern attitudes and morals but I fully recommend this film. Add it to your collection NOW!
This film is definitely off the beaten track. I enjoyed it a lot, and
thought that there were some truly stand-out performances here, notably
Rutger Hauer and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Some other actors and actresses that
I didn't recognize were excellent. The tone is relentlessly bleak as befits
the times. A couple of scenes put the times in perspective. One is where
Agnes and Stephen talk and flirt beneath the hanging corpses without giving
much thought to what we would consider today the horrid nature of such a
sight. Another is towards the end, when one of the women has been captured
(Polly, I think) and is being raped, and the lord (Stephen's father) simply
walks past, barely noticing. I don't know if they are simply there for shock
value, or if Verhoeven is making the point that one cannot judge mores,
morals, and customs of past ages by the standards of today. (Something done
quite a bit these days, most notably about slavery.)
Some of the criticisms in other comments are valid. True, none of the characters are very likeable. I was sort of hoping that they would all be dead by the end of the movie. But, again, I'm judging them by 21st century standards. Also, about the plague. I'm sure Verhoeven knows that plague is spread by rat fleas, so all of the machinations about the plague has to be from people's points of view in 1501-2.
This film is worth viewing, but don't expect gallantry, chivalry, or even decency. And no, it's really not a "date movie" Grade: A
Paul Verhoeven is the genius behind "De Vierde Man"(1983)and "Basic Instinct"(1992).His "Flesh&Blood" belongs also to my all-time favourite movies.This film is definitely not for the squeamish:there's plenty of violence,brutality and nudity.Especially the scene when a young Jennifer Jason Leigh is raped is quite nasty and disturbing.The acting is really good and the medieval times are realistically shown.9 out of 10-check it out,just be prepared for some disturbing stuff contained in this 80's classic!
Director Paul Verhoeven has always enjoyed shocking his audience with
violence, sex, gore and filth. This love of all things sordid can be
traced right back to his European films of the '70s. In Flesh + Blood,
his English-language debut, Verhoeven delights in pushing back a few
Hollywood boundaries and serving up a medieval romp that alternately
intrigues and disgusts. While it is most definitely not everyone's cup
of tea, Flesh + Blood is never boring.... and certainly shows the
plague-ridden period in a more authentic light than most films that
have gone before.
In Western Europe during the early 16th Century, a gang of mercenaries led by the charismatic Martin (Rutger Hauer) help a nobleman to win back control of his city. The nobleman (Fernando Hillbeck) promises that they may take loot from his city if they help him. but once the battle reaches a favourable conclusion he goes back on his word and banishes the mercenaries to the wild. Martin's gang return for revenge and discover that the nobleman's son, Steven (Tom Burlinson), is to be married to a virginal princess named Agnes (Jennifer Jason Leigh). The mercenaries kidnap Agnes and head off with her, leaving young Steven to lament his loss. Agnes is abused and tormented by her captors, and ultimately raped by Martin himself, but she gives the impression that she is actually enjoying her ordeal. Martin falls in love with her and takes her as his "official" lover, making a home for her and the band in a nearby castle. Meanwhile, Steven enlists an old soldier, Hawkwood (Jack Thompson) - once a colleague of Martin's - and together they plan a way of rescuing the princess from the clutches of the mercenaries.
Flesh + Blood is full of deliberate unpleasantness. Rotting corpses hang from trees; a stillborn baby is crudely stuffed into a barrel and buried in a puddle; gang rape reigns supreme; heads and torsos are impaled on lances; nuns are disfigured and murdered; a plague-ridden dog is dismembered and its body parts used for a primitive form of germ warfare. Verhoeven is clearly having a ball rubbing our noses in all this dirt, and he somehow encourages his well-known cast to enter into the vile proceedings with full-blooded gusto. The problem is that the story is not all that compelling and takes a long time to play out to its obvious conclusion. There are occasional foolish moments that mar credibility too, such as the scene where Steven's soldiers build an unbelievably complex assault contraption overnight (a scene which hilariously reminds one of The A-Team!), and the bit where Martin spends several hours in a poisoned well but climbs out uninfected, while other members of his band drop down stricken merely by drinking a sip of the same water. Flesh + Blood is ultra-violent, ultra-brutal and ultra-sordid, so you'll need to be in a certain frame of mind to enjoy it. In other words, it's admirable but not enjoyable.
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