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Solomon Kane (2009)
Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Whenever I devoured the adventures of Solomon Kane (he is my favourite hero) by Robert E. Howard, I always sensed between the lines that Solomon, despite being a taciturn loner, was part of a bigger plan. The makers of this film had apparently a similar notion and supply a fantastic and fantastical back story to this character that fights evil in his adventures with a driven determination. Now I love Solomon Kane even more.
This story here starts with Solomon as a greedy, cruel man seemingly without humanity. During a raid in a foreign land, he happens upon the devil's reaper who wants to claim his soul. Solomon puts up a formidable fight and makes a narrow escape. Could there be a shred of humanity left in him after all? Why else would he refuse to let his soul be damned? Solomon renounces violence despite his extraordinary fighting skills in hopes of saving his soul somehow. Nonetheless, bad dreams and a tormenting fear that he is utterly deserted continue to plague him. His destined path is full of painful trials but not at all what he thought it had to be and soon he's up against gruesome, evil beings. Yet he proves his mettle and his faith in all things good & righteous. I couldn't but root for him. It is heart-achingly beautiful how ultimately Solomon does lay down his life and soul for a friend and thus is redeemed when he thought all was lost already.
James Purefoy is perfect as Solomon, lends a stern, sometimes even severe, and tough gravitas, but also a vulnerability and humility to this character who touches my heart like no other hero. Purefoy's fencing/fighting skills are amazing and all the other cast (Rachel Hurd-Wood was stunning), the visuals, the action, the score are outstanding in this film! Some images are downright haunting and linger with me still. For example Solomon flicking his cutlass with his foot off the ground into his hand, Solomon throwing on his cape, two pestilence doctors with their masks turning their heads to look after Solomon as he passes them, crows on trees in a wintry English landscape, Solomon plummeting off a 15 ft cross in slow motion against a cloudy sky, a rattle made of a baby's skull in a witch's hand and many many more. Every frame is breath taking, many bleak and gloomy, but all a visual feast.
In short, 'Solomon Kane' is a compelling must see!
Incandescently Charming Adaptation Will Set Your Heart Aglow
I was swept up by this brilliant adaptation from second one, when a young woman looked straight at me with melancholic eyes in an extreme close up. I was engaged, I was on her side and watched, utterly spellbound, as her story unravelled.
A clever script manages, with all the cuts and changes which are invariably part of all adaptations, to distill the spirit of Jane Austen's novel unerringly. Wonderful leads (Rupert Penry-Jones is a warm-hearted, dashing Wentworth and Sally Hawkins is a delightfully sweet tempered Anne Elliot) and an outstanding supporting cast breathe life and immediacy into the plot. Creative film making ideas give the production a fresh face and make for memorable, visually gorgeous film moments. The pacing is swift but never hurried. And last but not least, I loved the musical score!
Watching this sent me walking on cloud 9 for days. I have watched it several times since and am still discovering new marvels because there are many levels to explore in this gem. Don't miss it!
And that was without a single drop of rum!
This adventure kept me on the edge of the seat from the first to the last minute. What a fantastic end of a classic adventure trilogy! It's got all you can think of and then some: colourful, intricate characters (all!), sharp dialogue, stunning visuals, duty and honour and love between hidden agendas, heart stopping stunts and of course, enough pirates to sink a ship! 'Pirates of the Caribbean' will be part of countless childhood memories carrying the genre over into the 21st century by tying it in artfully to its romantic and exotic tradition from the past and still giving it a distinctly contemporary sheen. This elevates escapism to an art form! Brilliant, superb, dazzling!