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November 13, 2017

Brimstone is a movie starring Guy Pearce and Dakota Fanning.   Set in the North America frontier, in the days of the wild west, it’s ultimately the story of a young woman Liz (Fanning) who struggles to overcome severe adversity.

Liz is a mute, who lives in a frontier town with her farming husband, step-son and daughter. She is also the local midwife. A new Reverend comes to town, and Liz recognises him from her past … unfortunately, at that moment one of the congregation goes into labour, and Liz is faced with a difficult decision during the birth which results in her being made a pariah. The Reverend uses this as his excuse to inflict punishment on Liz … who he obviously has history with. At first, it’s just threats, but quickly escalates to extreme violence. Liz and her family are forced to flee but the Reverend is in pursuit.

Why does he have this hatred for her? We find out it’s not really to do with her midwifery skills at all. In fact, he’d had an altercation with Liz before in her past when she was working at a bordello, and she had fled from him then too. But that wasn’t their first encounter. As the movie proceeds, it seems unlikely that Liz is going to escape unharmed, but there are plenty of twists and turns in the tale.

The movie itself is divided into four chapters, but they jump around in time. That is, in chronological order, it’s presented as chapter three, two, one and four – and you’d think that this would be confusing or annoying, but it’s actually very intriguing, and easy enough to follow.

Personally I thought this was a great movie, reminiscent of ‘The Piano’ – hard to watch at times, but very well directed, superbly acted, and uplifting in places. I think it’s one of those movies that will stick in my mind for a while. My advice is don’t watch this movie if you’re faint of heart – it’s not gory as such, but it has some very cruel and sadistic scenes – R18 for a reason! But if you like the wild west, stories of triumph, drama, suspense, hope .. this is the movie for you. 4/5


sulfur: now chiefly in the phrases fire and brimstone, hellfire and brimstone, the torments of damnation to hell”

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