Age Of Uprising: The Legend Of Michael Kohlhaas: Film review
(15) Arnaud des Pallières, 122 mins Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Mélusine Mayance, Delphine Chuillot, David Kros
This dour 16th-Century-set revenge thriller (adapted from a novel by Heinrich von Kleist) suffers from the formal constraints it places on itself. Director Arnaud des Pallières is seemingly aiming for dirty realism, late-Medieval style. That means he uses natural light wherever possible and real locations (the wetter and muddier the better) rather than studio sets. He largely eschews music and shies away from primary colours, aiming instead for a dark, desaturated look. The action sequences are shot in surprisingly murky fashion.
Mads Mikkelsen plays Kohlhaas, a horse dealer who is swindled by a young nobleman. When he tries to sue, his case is dismissed. His beloved wife intercedes on his behalf with the Princess, but she is murdered – and Kohlhaas responds by leading a vengeful and bloody revolt.
In its own rugged way, the film is beautifully shot. It is full of poetic imagery of horses galloping through forests and across barren landscapes. There is an intriguing interlude when a theologian (Denis Lavant) accosts Kohlhaas and accuses him of vanity and of recklessly leading his impoverished followers to their doom. Mikkelsen is in brooding, taciturn form as the fatalistic hero. He knows that his own vengeful deeds will themselves be punished, even if his stolen horses are returned.
The plot here is similar to that of many full-blooded revenge westerns, but there is something alienating about the solemnity and detachment of the storytelling.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
- 2 Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
- 3 Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
- 4 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 5 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
Great British Bake Off, episode 4, review: Heat gets turned up as Iain goes into meltdown
Doctor Who kiss sparks Ofcom complaints over 'weird lesbian-lizard perv trip'
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Emmys 2014: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Steven Moffat win big awards for Sherlock
Homer Simpson takes the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he does
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
- < Previous
- Next >