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Brimstone - Castigo

Time Out says

A brutal period western starring Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce.

Religious hypocrisy looms large in this revisionist western, with a glowering Guy Pearce encapsulating a depraved Dutch Protestant clergyman way, way beyond salvation. From the moment he spouts a fiery sermon about the infernal torments of hell, we begin to surmise why mute Dakota Fanning, wife of a local rancher, is so frightened of him. The full backstory linking these opposites of innocence and evil soon unfolds in writer-director Martin Koolhaven’s expansive frontier saga. And the further back in time it gets, the ickier events become, as we visit the Reverend’s biblically-inspired justification for the satisfaction of his perverse desires. 

With sundry whippings, tongue-cuttings – and worse! – this Euro-financed oater goes further than Hollywood might have ventured in depicting the horrifying punishments inflicted on women in a society where men viewed them as property. It’s a point worth making, and elfin Fanning is certainly a resilient protagonist, yet as the mayhem escalates you wonder whether the film-makers are guilty of a double-standards by criticising the male urges to perpetrate such iniquities then making sure we get a darned good look at the results. A classy cast give this the air of a prestige production, but it’s a disreputable exploitation flick at heart.

Trevor Johnston
Written by
Trevor Johnston

Release Details

  • Rated:18
  • Release date:Friday 29 September 2017
  • Duration:148 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Martin Koolhoven
  • Cast:
    • Dakota Fanning
    • Guy Pearce
    • Kit Harington
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