Ironclad – Review
March 5, 2011 6 Comments
Directed by Jonathan English. Starring James Purefoy, Kate Mara, Brian Cox, Paul Giamatti, Jason Flemyng, Mackenzie Crook, Aneurin Barnard.
Blood does run indeed in one of the most brutal in-your-face violent Brit-flicks (and not just British to be honest) I’ve ever seen.
In fact it’s the violence itself that seems to be Ironclad’s selling point. It’s obviously all sold as “realism” but we all know that in this case it’s just another word for gratuitous and exploitive.
And so as the handheld-shaky-cam swings about and the editing goes crazy hiding the pretty low-budget, limbs fly left, right and centre, hands get chopped off, people get literally sliced in two in the bloodiest and ruthless gore-fest you’ll ever seen.
To be honest with you, after a while if you just go with the silliness of it all, you might actually even enjoy it a bit. I think I did, despite the never-ending 121 minutes.
But in its defense, to be able to stretch what’s essentially one long battle for 2 hours is quite an achievement.
The story of Ironclad, after a very dodgy (though mercifully short) intro/opening which seems has been lifted straight out of a bad docu-drama, is indeed very simple: a small group of 20 people or so try to protect Rochester Castle (Apparently a pivotal garrison in England) against a siege by King John’s army. That’s pretty much it. Don’t expect much else in terms of character development, or plot twist, or story, or even lines of dialogue: in fact most of the dialogue consists of a series of aaaaaaaaarrrrrrhhh and rrrrroarrrrr and other stuff like that. However compensating all that, you’ll get a lot of stabbing, slicing, hammering, catapulting and all type of swordplay and fights.
And the choral soundtrack makes it all feel even bigger that it is.
Paul Giamatti is probably the most absurd miscast of the year so far and yet, aware of that himself, he ends up having great fun with the role and plays it so over-the-top that you just can’t help but laughing with him.
All the other actors too give their best with their one-dimensional characters.
Incidentally the whole audience I was with laughed out-loud at the ludicrous ending too, in fact perfectly in keeping with the rest of the film, which at least doesn’t take itself so seriously like Russel Crowe’s latest Robin Hood.
What can I say? I will never watch this film again, but while I was there I had fun with it (if only it had been 20 minutes shorter I might have liked it even more…)