Brimstone -2016 Film

Brimstone is a 2016 western thriller film written and directed by Martin Koolhoven, starring Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Kit Harington, and Carice van Houten. The film is a Dutch-American as well as French, German, Belgian and Swedish international production. It was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival on September 3, 2016. It premiered in the Netherlands on January 12, 2017, before being released on March 10 in the United States in selected theaters and video on demand. It received mixed reviews in the US, in contrast to positive reviews in Europe and at festivals.

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Brimstone
USA release poster
Directed byMartin Koolhoven
Produced byEls Vandevorst
Uwe Schott
Written byMartin Koolhoven
Starring
Music byTom Holkenborg
CinematographyRogier Stoffers
Edited byJob ter Burg
Production
company
  • N279 Entertainment
  • X-Filme
  • Backup Media
  • Filmwave
  • Prime Time
  • The Jokers Films
Distributed byMomentum Pictures (USA)[1]
Release date
  • 3 September 2016 (2016-09-03) (Venice)
  • 12 January 2017 (2017-01-12) (Netherlands)
  • 10 March 2017 (2017-03-10) (United States)
Running time
148 minutes[2]
CountryNetherlands
France
Germany
Sweden
United Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Box office$2.1 million[3]

Brimstone is a 2016 western thriller film written and directed by Martin Koolhoven, starring Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Kit Harington, and Carice van Houten.[4] The film is a Dutch-American as well as French, German, Belgian and Swedish international production.

It was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival on September 3, 2016.[5] It premiered in the Netherlands on January 12, 2017, before being released on March 10 in the United States in selected theaters and video on demand. It received mixed reviews in the US, in contrast to positive reviews in Europe and at festivals.[6][7][8][9][10]

Plot

Revelation

Liz lives with her husband Eli and two children in the old west, one of which is a boy from her husband's prior marriage, and the other is a young girl. Liz is a midwife who can hear but communicates through sign language. A new minister comes to their church, and the moment that Liz hears his voice, she seems to recognize him and is terrified. The same day Liz is forced to choose between a delivering a baby safely or saving its mother, and the father Nathan blames and threatens Liz. After Eli's sheep are killed, he seeks out Nathan, who has disappeared. Liz then sneaks off at night to kill the minister, and finds her daughter's doll in the minister's bed. The minister disembowels Eli, and leaves him to die. Eli tells his son Matthew to take the family up into the mountains to Eli's father, before the boy shoots him. Liz and the children flee the farm.

Exodus

A young girl named Joanna walking through the desert is picked up by a Chinese family. In the mining town of Bismuth, she's sold to a brothel owned by Frank. Joanna is first protected by Sally until she is hanged for shooting a violent customer, and then Elizabeth. After Elizabeth bites the tongue of an abusive customer, her tongue is cut off in punishment. Joanna teaches Elizabeth sign language from a book the doctor gave her. Elizabeth plans to sneak out of Bismuth to find a new life, and arranges through a marriage broker to marry Eli. The minister comes to the brothel and becomes violent with Joanna. Elizabeth saves Joanna and is killed by the minister. Joanna slashes his throat and runs away, cutting off her own tongue and taking Elizabeth's place with Eli.

Genesis

In the desert, two badly wounded men, Samuel and Wolf, are the last men standing in a dispute over gold that has left several other men dead. They depart on a single horse. Young Joanna lives with her mother, Anna, and father, who is the minister. Samuel and Wolf collapse at the farm and Joanna secretly cares for them. Anna confronts the minister when she realizes he lusts after their daughter, and he beats and humiliates her by placing a scold's bridle on her head, so that she commits suicide in full view of the church congregation. The next day her father takes Joanna to church and starts to perform a wedding ceremony between himself and his daughter. Samuel tries to rescue her and the minister kills him. Her father whips Joanna and rapes her. In the morning she runs off.

Retribution

Matthew is shot by the minister as he follows Liz to her father-in-law's place in the mountains. He kills her father-in-law and tells Liz he will beat and rape her daughter before Liz finally kills him instead. Some time later, after Liz has turned Eli's place into a sawmill, Nathan arrives to arrest her. The minister had sent him to Bismuth where he became a deputy and then sheriff. Finding a 'Wanted Poster' of Elizabeth Brundy, the woman without a tongue who killed Frank before she saved Liz/Joanna, Nathan has come to arrest her. As Nathan is escorting her onto a ferry, with a last look at her daughter playing on the shore, Liz throws herself in the lake and drowns. Her daughter Sam, now a grown woman with a child of her own, remembers her well.

Cast

Production

Casting

On February 5, 2015, Guy Pearce and Mia Wasikowska were the first to be announced as part of the cast of the film.[11] Later, Robert Pattinson came on board to portray an outlaw along with Carice van Houten.[12][13]

In May 2015, Koolhoven confirmed that Jack Roth has joined the cast of the film.[14] In June 2015, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Dakota Fanning and Kit Harington had replaced Wasikowska and Pattinson in the film, respectively.[15] In 2017 Pattinson said he regretted [16] not doing Brimstone and called it "his own stupid fault".[17]

Filming

Principal photography began from June 15, 2015 and took take place in Hungary, Spain, Austria and Germany.[18]

Release

Brimstone's first commercial release was in The Netherlands on 12 January 2017, becoming Martin Koolhoven's fifth consecutive hit film.[19] It was also released on March 10, 2017 in selected theaters and video on demand in the United States.

Brimstone was sold to more than 80 countries in the world, making it the best sold Dutch movie ever.[20]

Festival screenings

Brimstone was shown in competition at the Venice Film Festival where it was met by a rousing applause,[21] yet stirred great controversy amongst the press.

After Venice, the film had its North American premiere as a Special Presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival where it was met with good press.[22] After that it went to festivals around the world, like London, Jakarta, Shanghai, etc. On the Sitges Film Festival Brimstone had very good press and created a huge buzz, especially on social media[23]

Critical reception

The film received positive reviews in The Netherlands from critics and opened strongly.[8][7]

The readers of True West Magazine chose the movie as Best Foreign Western Movie.[24]

Koolhoven won the Gouden Pen (Golden Pen) for the screenplay[25] and the Gouden Film (Golden Film) for the film.[26]

29 September 2017 Brimstone won six Golden Calves (often called "The Dutch Oscars") at the Netherlands Film Festival, breaking the old record of four.[27]

In contrast to the positive reception in the Netherlands,[28][29] American reviews for the film were mixed. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, though no Critics Consensus has yet been reached, the film has a rating of 39% based on 46 reviews and the average rating is 4.9/10.[30] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 from mainstream critics, the film has a score of 44 based on 16 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6]

While The Independent[10] wrote "Brimstone is raw and very powerful filmmaking, a movie that can't help but get under your skin," Variety wrote it was "highfalutin exploitation," blaming it on the Netherlands, writing "It is, after all, a country that ever since the 1960s, especially in Amsterdam, has profferred a more liberal view than almost any other place of what might euphemistically be termed 'youthful sexuality."[9]

The Political Film Society has nominated Brimstone as best film on human rights of 2017.

The movie was released in the United Kingdom 29 September 2017 and, like in other European countries, was very well received [31] Empire Magazine gave it four stars and called it "white-knuckle tense",[32] The Hollywood News called it "one of the most visceral and intense western thrillers of all time" [33] and Peter Bradshaw wrote in The Guardian: "This epically long, lurid, violent western from Dutch film-maker Martin Koolhoven has a kind of Tarantino-ish prolixity and narrative ingenuity. Despite its very indulgent length, it never bores." [34]

Awards

References

  1. "Brimstone Trailer #1 (2017)". January 24, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  2. "Venezia 73". Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  3. "Brimstone (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  4. "Wasikowska, Pearce Fire Up 'Brimstone'; Voltage Enlists 'Officer Downe' – Berlin". Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  5. "Venice Film Festival 2016". Deadline. 28 July 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  6. 1 2 "Brimstone". Metacritic. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  7. 1 2 "Interview Fanning + Review". Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  8. 1 2 "Brimstone opens strongly". Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  9. 1 2 "Film Review: 'Brimstone'". Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  10. 1 2 "Brimstone review: Blood-soaked revenge western can't help but get under your skin". Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  11. "Guy Pearce Heads For Brimstone". Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  12. "Robert Pattinson Fired Up For Brimstone". Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  13. "Casting: Robert Pattinson Ready For 'Brimstone,' Nicolas Cage Boards 'USS Indianapolis' & More". Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  14. "BrimstoneMovie". Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  15. "Kit Harington Joins Thriller Brimstone". Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  16. "Pattinson regrets not doing Brimstone". Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  17. "Pattinson about Brimstone". Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  18. "'Brimstone' inks France, Germany deals ahead of shoot". Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  19. "Koolhoven tells about his fifth consecutive hit". Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  20. "Interview with Martin Koolhoven about Brimstone" (in Dutch). Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  21. "Venezia73: Brimstone Film Review". Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  22. "Momentum Picks up Brimstone after good press in Toronto". Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  23. "Variety about Sitges". Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  24. "Best Foreign Western Movie". Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  25. "Koolhoven wins Golden Pen for Brimstone". Retrieved January 27, 2017. [dead link]
  26. "Koolhoven wins Golden Film for Brimstone". Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  27. "Brimstone breaks record". Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  28. "Dutch reviewers impressed by Brimstone". Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  29. "Reception after Venice Film Festival". Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  30. "Brimstone". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  31. "Brimstone goed ontvangen door Britse pers" [Brimstone well-received by British press] (in Dutch). RTL Nieuws. Archived from the original on 7 October 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  32. "Brimstone Review". Empire Magazine. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  33. "Brimstone Review: Dir. Martin Koolhoven (2017)". Hollywood New Review. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  34. Peter Bradshaw. "Brimstone review – Guy Pearce outrageously operatic in grisly and gripping western". The Guardian. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
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