A 9th Century Anglo-Saxon poem brought to the big screen in 2006. In today’s MTV-dosed world, the subject matter might seem irrelevant. Which is really sad since friendship, loyalty and revenge are struggles we all face everyday. Sturla Gunnarsson’s Beowulf & Grendel is probably more relevant today than ever, and proves itself organically, using truly masterful storytelling, and gripping set pieces.
Beowulf & Grendel moves across the screen with heavy and sometimes humorous impact, with a haunting grace, thanks in part to brilliant acting and Andrew Rai Berzins’ pen. The only thing more haunting than the fluid presence of the actors, are the gallery of beautiful locations, making the film an even more organic force of nature. It’s a slice of life from a time period that the viewer should feel privileged to have the opportunity to witness. Characters on all sides are dealing with the same issues, and it never becomes a simple tale of right and wrong. By the end of the film, everyone wants revenge, everyone wants piece, and many have died in both of these pursuits.
Most impressive is that Gunnarsson doesn’t rely on special effects and CGI to bring the story to life. His palette contains a blend of solid casting, strong direction, dedication to the source material and natural sets that penetrate the viewer’s senses.
Beowulf is not only a film of enormous potential, but a breath of fresh air during a summer filled with movies that have been made many times over.
Review by Rene Carson, © FilmFetish.com