- 2 hr 28 min
Brimstone is a dark drama western film from 2016 that stars Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning, and Emilia Jones. The movie is written and directed by Martin Koolhoven, and it tells the story of a young woman named Liz, played by Fanning, who is relentlessly pursued by a vengeful preacher, played by Pearce, across the dangerous landscape of the American West. The movie is split into four chapters, each depicting a different phase in Liz's life. The first chapter, titled "Revelation," introduces us to an enigmatic preacher named The Reverend, who has arrived in the town where Liz lives with her family. From the start, it is clear that there is something menacing about The Reverend, who speaks in ominous sermons about the fires of hell and the need for repentance. As the chapter progresses, we learn more about Liz's life at home, where she works alongside her mother and younger brother on their farm. We also discover that Liz is mute, unable to speak due to a childhood accident that is only hinted at in the film's early scenes. One day, The Reverend sets his sights on Liz, and from then on, her life becomes a living hell. He terrorizes her family, accusing her of sins and transgressions she has not committed, and ultimately drives them to violence. The second chapter, titled "Exodus," sees Liz on the run from The Reverend, now a full-fledged fugitive from the law. She meets a kind-hearted prostitute named Sally, played by Jones, who takes her under her wing and teaches her the ways of the world. The third chapter, "Genesis," takes us back in time to Liz's childhood, where we see the events that led to her being mute and the trauma that would shape her life. This chapter is perhaps the most disturbing of the film's four, as it delves into taboo subjects like incest, sexual abuse, and murder. The final chapter, "Retribution," brings Liz and The Reverend back together for a final showdown that will reveal the full extent of their twisted relationship. Brimstone is a deeply unsettling film that explores themes of religious fanaticism, vengeance, and the darkness that lurks in the hearts of men. It is anchored by powerful performances from its leads, particularly Pearce, who imbues The Reverend with a chilling intensity that makes him one of the most memorable villains in recent cinema. The film's direction and cinematography are also noteworthy, with Koolhoven using light and shadow to create a palpable sense of dread that permeates every frame. The sparse, desolate landscapes of the American West provide a backdrop that is both beautiful and menacing, underscoring the film's themes of isolation and survival in a harsh, unforgiving world. Overall, Brimstone is a challenging, uncompromising film that will not be to everyone's taste. But for those willing to brave its dark subject matter, it is a rewarding and unforgettable experience that will linger in the mind long after the credits roll.