Opening in theatres this week from director Arnaud des Pallieres and Music Box Films comes a story of life and doing what’s right in an AGE OF UPRISING: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas.
This film tells the story of Kohlhaas (Mads Mikkelsen), who lives in 16th century Cevennes. Raising the finest horses and living with his wife Lisbeth (Melusine Mayance) and child Judith (Delphine Chuillot) were all he lived for.
On a trip to sell a pair of black horses, Kohlhaas is met by a cruel Baron (Swann Arlaud) who takes his horses with no cause. Wanting to find justice, he goes to court demanding that his horses be returned and restitution is given.
When time passes, Kohlhaas has no choice but to ask for justice through the royal family and is met by The Princess (Roxane Duran) who promises to help. Once again time passes and no justice comes. In the meantime, the man responsible has mistreated the horses through cruelty.
Kohlhaas has enough of waiting and bands together with other men to deliver there own kind of justice. Riding to find every man responsible, the nobility fears who he will visit next.
When a man of honor is wronged – justice takes its own form!
FINAL WORD: Mikkelsen as Kohlhaas is perfectly casted in this role. This character is a quiet man trying to live a quiet life. There isn’t a lot of dialogue for this character but I rather enjoyed seeing more physical reaction to the events of the film than boggle it down with words. Mikkelsen brings his stoic and rugged looks bringing the viewer totally into the story.
Arlaud as the Baron is sadistically cruel and cares nothing for ‘the little people’. Instead he finds great pleasure in ruling with an iron fist. Taking Kohlhaas’ horses wasn’t done for any other reason than just because.
Duran as The Princess brings all the charm of royalty but I didn’t trust her from the moment she stepped on scene. Mayance as Lisbeth is a woman who wants the best for her family and husband wanting to support Kohlhaas’ need for justice but it costs her family.
Chuillot as Judith is a young girl who believes in her father and family. Watching him do what he believes is right does give the girl some pause. There is a defiance in Chuillot and it comes through brilliantly.
Other cast include: David Kross as The Preacher, Bruno Ganz as The Governor, Denis Lavant as The Theologist, Paul Bartel as Jeremie, David Bennet as Cesar and Sergi Lopez as The Armless.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give AGE OF UPRISING: THE LEGEND OF MICHAEL KOHLHAAS three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. It is nicely done with a story of justice and honor but the line between the two can become blurred. The cinematography is beautifully done in a country filled with such diverse landscape.
There are some serious scenes of battle that aren’t for the frail hearted. Director Pallieres is also responsible for the 1997 film DRANCY AVENIR that tells the story of the fate of European Jews in the Second World War. It is a film worth taking the time to see as well.
In the end – he will put his country to fire and sword to find justice!