I watched this yesterday, have to admit I’m not sure about Nicholas Cage but every now and then he seems to be in a decent movie so I gave it a go,  plus it had Ron Perlman who I  like. 

As the story goes, two crusading knights give up their oath to do god’s will when they discover they end up attacking women and children…although they may aswell have been killing babies for how obviously wrong they wanted to make it look.  Anyway,  haunted by his accidental stabbing of an unarmed woman  Behmen (Cage) and Felson (Perlman) leave the crusade army and become fugitives for about two minutes and then they are discovered and imprisoned.  Apparently if you have a crusader crest on your sword and you are not on crusade you must be a deserter,  oh and deflecting crossbow bolts with a sword isn’t that hard.

Despite this setback, they are offered freedom and a chance to redeem themselves by escorting a suspected witch to a monastery for trial, she is believed to be the instigator of the plague the town is afflicted by.  Along the road various members of their party are killed in unusual ways and while they could have kept it questionable they pretty much made  Clare Foy’s character (the girl) as a witch all along.

I think the initial, is she or isn’t she a witch? story was a compelling one but the writers fluffed it and threw the whole suspense out the window early in the film, I feel the story would have been better if it had remained a point of uncertainty until the end,  to keep people guessing and make the moral dilemma of the main character more difficult.  Should he escort her to trial and almost certain death or should he set her free when the evidence seems mostly conjecture, fear and ignorance?  Well they didn’t go near that until it was already clear she wasn’t innocent so it lost its impact unfortunately.

Even without the story lacking in suspense it doesn’t seem to matter,  Nicholas Cage can’t sell himself as a Crusading Knight if his life depended on it.  Ron Perlman doesn’t really do it either,  their dialogue isn’t good and the opening scenes where they discuss who pays for the drinks based on who kills the most infidels is horrid.  Poor story,  poor casting,  poor dialogue,  avoid at all costs.