Running Time: 104 mins.
Director: Michael J. Bassett
Writer: Michael J. Bassett
Starring: James Purefoy, Pete Postlethwaite, Rachel Hurd-Wood and Jason Flemyng.
Set in the 1600s, a dark period has over washed the world one were evil goes without being challenged, evil in the shape of witches, Sorcerers and Demons.When Soloman Kane (James Purefoy) a strong and brutal Captain of her royal majesty's navey on a mission in Africa is faced with the Devil's Messenger whom demands the debt of Kane's Soul be payed he realises he must attone for his past sins and walk the path of peace.
Narrowly escaping this encounter Kane escapes back to England, walking the path of a puritan he befriends a like wise minded family but soon this pleasant pause comes to an end after a raid at the family's' campsite forcing Kane to take up the bloody path he walked once again, uncovering a greater conspiracy at the hands of an evil sorcerer by the name Malachi. Soloman will discover many things on his journey that will test him mentally and physically but can his soul be redeemed?
This is a classic swords and fantasy adventure that keeps a modest head but delivers a dark and interesting tale about a character many people are probably not familiar with. Based on the Pulp Magazine character created by Robert E. Howard (most famous for creating Conan The Barbarian) this adaptation shows that film small time Director Michael J. Bassett can deliver an enjoyable storyline with well crafted action scenes which teathers it all together making this a perfect fit into the genre. The atmosphere is one of the main factors that made this film a treat to watch, from the dark brooding castle in Africa to the English Moors on which most of the film takes place on, there's also a lot of rain...really! The costume department did a great job aswell as over all the world that's presented to us is dark and gritty one, combining these two aspects alone the film creates some very well designed and astheticly pleasing scenes that could have be taken straight from those old pulp stories.
Of course all this great work and effort to create a believable and moody backdrop for the characters to exist in can be completely undone if the acting is doesn't match, luckily Soloman Kane suffers from none of this. James Purefoy (previously portraied Mark Antoni in the TV series Rome) makes for a great Soloman Kane with merits for presenting a dark hero that audiences can get behind and root for, which is exactly what the main character in adventure films should do for their viewer. The rest of the cast all help into creating a robust group of characters, but outside of Kane and Meredith Crowthorn, the youngest daughter of the family he befriends (played by Rachel Hurd-Wood) some characters seem forgetful. This doesn't really cause too much of a blemish on the film as it's meant to focus on Soloman Kane.
The direction is spot on as from the moment I was dropped into this dark world I felt submersed which made me pay close attention to the story line. There are some nice moments in between action scenes which help the character progression of Kane and make us empathetic towards him but this is a swords and adventure film! There are plenty of great action scenes which capture that same feel of adventure from previous fantasy films. I walked out of the cinema thouroghly satisfied, even a little giddy too.
Bassett has presented a lesser known character from fiction and given him a great polish, for those looking for something to watch at the cinema and can't decide, go see Soloman Kane. whilst this isn't on the same scale as Lord Of The Rings it would be great to see a series made from this as it's a very modest film that if done by Bassett again could grow into a nice franchise. If you're a fan of Fantasy films this will more than fit the bill, if you're just a genral movie goer Soloman Kane is this months film you might not of known about but should go see, a stable entry into the fantasy genre.