Set during the plague of 1348, Christopher Smith’s best film to date is a tale of fundamentalist Christianity, fearful superstition and paganism. Based on a fluid, intelligent screenplay by Dario Poloni, it marks Smith out as Britain’s most talented, least appreciated genre filmmaker.

After persuading his secret lover to flee their plague-ravaged town, doubting novice monk Osmund (Redmayne) joins the bishop’s devout military envoy, Ulric (Bean) on an expedition to a remote village. This village has mysteriously been spared the pestilence and is rumoured to be a hotbed of pagan beliefs and necromancy. Dragging behind them a huge wooden torture device, Ulric and his men are guided by Osmund through the woods and marshes, encountering bandits and witch-burning locals en route. Beneath the village’s placid surface is a roiling pit of religious duplicity and moral decay.

The ruthless Ulric represents the official church, yet his zealotry prompts the Abbot (Warner) to remark: ‘That man is more dangerous than the pestilence itself.’

Black Death

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Horror
Duration: 97 mintues
Released: Oct 28th
Director: Christopher Smith
Stars: Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Carice van Houten, David Warner, Kimberley Nixon, Johnny Harris, John Lynch, Tim McInnerny, Andy Nyman
Language: English
Classification: 18+
Black Death
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