Martin Koolhaven (director)
Momentum Pictures (studio)
148 Minutes (length)
02 October 2017 (released)
02 October 2017
Told in four chapters, this is the story of Liz, a girl that has seen horrific sadness, pain and murder. She found herself abandoned and left without hope. Saved and then sent to the darkest places. Coming to terms with her past, Liz is living again and she now has a large farm, a loving husband and two happy children. Living in a new town far away from her past, she has set up her life and returned into an ordinary world. When the new reverend comes to town however it becomes clear that he is out for more than just tending to the towns spiritual future.
BRIMSTONE is a hard watch for the well studied and the film lover. Yes it is bleak in tone, without a sense of even wanting to steer away from hope. This nihilism runs through the film and can leave a soar taste in the mouth. As unpleasant as this is, it needs to be this black. This underscores the narratives definition of the utter remorselessly power of self destruction and revenge. The violence also has a limit that is perturbing. It is gore drenched in its execution and horrific in its execution. Some might find this darkly unsettling in its use of on female violence but it is underlining the deeply unpleasant power of misogyny. These two elements combined to make a remarkably powerful film.
It is a western that is more a complex morality and mortality tale. Even the sporadic shoot outs, fights and deaths are only there to underscore the narrative and thematic power of the piece. The sex, the pregnancy doctor sequences and that convoluted story all combines to reveal much. If I have any complaints, it is that its length is unwarranted. Maybe 30 mins too long, as it over plays much of its story components. This does however work in translating the life of Liz to the screen and stripping out that Nihilism enough to dampen it, so to some it works. Now the over scored music sequences are in places pull you out and sometimes they draw focus away from the plight of the heroines.Making it lack depth. Overall though I have to say it a significant film. Powerful and potent. For me it is never short of visually stunning and powerful.