Remember when movies were not about comic-book characters, or, let’s see how many explosions we can fit into an hour and a half? You know, the kind of movie that actually has a plot, good acting, good visuals that were not computerized, and maybe even made you. . . heaven forbid . . . think?
The Reckoning, released in 2003, and staring Paul Bettany and Willem Dafoe, combines drama, mystery, history and masterful performances. Nicholas (Paul Bettany) a priest running from the law because of a crime of passion, meets up with a troupe of traveling actors, headed by Martin (Willem Dafoe). When they reach the town where they are to perform, they are faced with a town in uproar. A deaf-mute woman is condemned to be hanged for the murder of a teenage boy. Nicholas and Martin find out that the woman is innocent.
The excitement and drama builds as Nickolas, the self-defrocked priest and Martin learn the truth and then face the life-threatening decision of revealing the truth to the townspeople. During the Middle Ages the only plays actors were allowed to perform were biblical morality plays. In order to save the woman from death the traveling troupe must decide whether to defy the law in order to reveal the truth.
I don’t want to give too many spoilers, so I am giving the barest of sketches in this description of the movie. However, It is a sensational movie that probably few people have even heard of.
There is a scene where Willem Dafoe is preparing himself for his performance by doing a set of exercises. WOW!!!! The man is not only chiseled, he is unbelievably flexible. The movie would be worth watching for that scene alone. We are talking the perfect body with perfect control – absolute symmetry.