Set during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague in England, a young monk is tasked with learning the truth about reports of people being brought back to life in a small village.
BLACK DEATH is actually a movie about bubonic plague, which wiped out half the world’s population in the Middle Ages set in 1348. Sean Bean plays an emissary from the bishop who has come to investigate a town in which there is no bubonic plague so the assumption is that since this is God’s punishment, that it must be the devil there and they are necromancers, people who bring other people up from the dead. He stops by a monastery to figure out who should guide him into this strange area and get the young monk, who is Eddie Redmayne, who was terrific on Broadway in Red, as a young priest to guide them. And it turns out that Eddie has his own agenda and that he has broken God’s covenant because he is in love with a woman. And hilarity ensues, except not exactly. This is a very bloody movie. For a while it really does hold your interest and the idea that maybe there really is a true manifestation of the devil at some moment. And then it just gets very bloody and very nasty. And then it gets kind of psychologically astute and then it just sort of falls apart. I guess the moral of the story is that you can kill people in either God’s name or in the devil’s name, and it turns out to be the same. Just bloody. Just nasty. I mean, I thought the acting was terrific and the first part of the movie, I thought, was a really interesting depiction of a very strange and unhappy time in human history. I am not even sure this was meant to be metaphorical. But then the second half of the movie kind of falls apart. So I give it three and a half stars.