Review: Holy quest turns bloody in violent ‘Pilgrimage’
Tom Holland is a far way from ‘Spider-Man’ in this 13th century adventure
A holy quest to deliver a sacred relic turns brutally violent in “Pilgrimage,” a 13th-century journey that’s alternately stoic and bloody, and not much in-between.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming’s” Tom Holland stars as a young monk who is part of a team tasked with transporting a holy artifact to Rome. Along the way, there are various obstacles in their path, including soldiers who desperately want their hands on the treasure. Defending it becomes increasingly dangerous.
So what is the hallowed item? It’s a piece of rock, once used in the stoning of a Catholic martyr in 55 A.D. This stoning is depicted in the film’s opening scene, and its graphic nature sets the tone for the gory battles to come.
This band of monks also includes a man known only as “The Mute” (Jon Bernthal), whose silent nature is talked about so frequently that you just know he’s bound to say something sooner or later. Bernthal, an electric actor whose presence spices up films from “The Wolf of Wall Street” to “Baby Driver,” is a cauldron of slow-burning rage here, and when he finally unleashes his fury it’s nearly worth the wait.
Nearly, since “Pilgrimage” is a rather difficult sell. Director Brendan Muldowney has fashioned a film that is part religious text, part violent epic. It’s spoken in French, English and Gaelic and takes itself deadly seriously, but it also has scenes of bloodletting that would make gorehounds perk up in their seats. It’s an odd mixture of Sunday church and comics that probably should have chosen one or the other.
Running time: 96 minutes