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(Opens April 1 at the Gaslamp.)

★★


Black Death

Opening this Saturday as part of the Ken’s “Midnight Movies” is Black Death, a cobblestone tale of one of the world’s most caustic times: England, circa 1348. The retrospective prologue seems a bit forward-thinking for a period piece, but then very little of the production feels of the period. The filmmaking is undeniably modern: shaky, handheld camerawork, jump-cut editing, stuttering slow motion — a showy bag of tricks. An opening shot of a rat reminds us of history’s iconic (albeit mistaken) hypothesis as to the cause of the bubonic plague.

Beyond this, the connection to the 14th-century pandemic is rather derivative. The film is more concerned with making a bloody mess of things: shoddy pacing, a color palette of cold gruel, and a tirade of primitive banter about divine punishment. At their core, the brutal torture scenes are no more than a crudely veiled image of the Saw franchise.


Reviewed in this week’s movie capsules: Happythankyoumoreplease and A Somewhat Gentle Man.

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Comments

Ellie March 26, 2011 @ 8:10 p.m.

john, saw strongman last night...definitely the most interesting, carefully constructed film i've seen the last few years. i don't think i've ever seen a film that manages to be so funny and tragic, hopeful, hopeless, endearing, and rough all at one time. thankful i didn't see your rating beforehand-might have missed it.

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