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Beowulf & Grendel (2005)
An historical action film with a twist
I was fortunate enough to view the world-premiere performance of Beowulf and Grendel at the Toronto International Film Festival this past September 14th, and I found it to be a hauntingly beautiful film, with some surprising comedic moments added into the mix. All of the lead actors (especially Gerard Butler as Beowulf and Stellan Skarsgard as the King) were superb in their roles, and although I have never read the original epic poem, I found that the story was very well-told and that the director and his cast definitely succeeded in delivering the many-layered messages of racial tolerance, bravery and the real meaning of heroism. The Icelandic setting was absolutely breathtaking, and I certainly agree that it became an additional character and an essential part of the story as well. Finally, the bits of comedy which resulted from Beowulf's interactions with his band of warriors were a welcome and realistic addition to a story that could have easily taken itself too seriously and become bogged down in melodrama. I highly recommend this film to those who enjoy cinematic experiences which fall outside (and well above) the normal Hollywood, cookie-cutter action films. I am also looking forward to its wide release (I hope) here in North America in the next few months, since one viewing of this weirdly wonderful film is definitely not enough!