Pilgrimage has a great cast and an unrelenting pace making this a must-see.
Plot: In the 13th century, Irish monks embark on a reluctant pilgrimage to escort their monastery’s holiest relic to Rome. Their mission soon becomes fraught with danger as they trek across a rugged landscape that’s been ravaged by years of tribal warfare.
Review: Before watching it you’d be forgiven for thinking Pilgrimage was a talky religious drama but there is actually a ton of action and some brutal fights with limbs being hacked off and intestines literally being torn out. It is never dull but still remains a serious movie with an interesting story and first rate performance by the cast.
Tom Holland is a revelation as Brother Diarmuid and one of the reasons he’s so good is how he mastered speaking Irish Gaelic which is no easy task. Diarmund has an almost “deer in the headlights” look throughout and when he embarks on a quest to take a mysterious artifact to Rome they underestimate just how dangerous a task it will be.
With treachery coming from every side you aren’t sure who to trust but the one person you know is truly good is Diarmund. Actually, if they were to make LOTR now I would totally cast Tom Holland as Frodo as he would have nailed it. Anyway, Diarmund is the moral compass of the tale and he has tough choices to make when enemies try to take the relic from he and his comrades.
Richard Armitage is clearly having fun as the scene stealing French villain called Raymond De Merville who is immediately threatening as soon as he comes on screen. His accent is pretty spot on too proving that he remains one of the more underrated actors working today.
John Bernthal is everywhere right now and that’s just fine by me as he has immense screen presence even when playing a mute who protects the monks during their pilgrimage.
The film is beautifully shot with a sublime score featuring Gregorian chants so it all sounds very religious and helps to transport you to another age. It was certainly a more brutal age with danger lurking around every corner and people were at their most savage.
If you’re looking for deep philosophical debates then there isn’t all that much as the pace never really lets up to give our characters time to breathe. If anything the film was a little too short and I would have happily stuck with it an extra half hour at least.
Overall, Pilgrimage has a great cast and an unrelenting pace making this a must-see.