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.
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 2 'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
- 5 YouTube social experiment shows just how easy it is to kidnap a child
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 4 - review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils