Kirk really, truly is a beautiful young woman, but she’s far too pretty for this grueling film, and Marshall tries real hard to navigate his affection and attraction to her through a mediocre story and script. I wanted very much to like The Reckoning, and while it’s a mite more than a misfire, it’s a curious thing to see, if only for the fact that we finally get to see Kirk in what may end up being her only starring role … unless she and Marshall try it again.
An innocent woman in the Dark Ages is accused of being a witch by a witch finder and a spiteful land baron.
As if the Dark Ages weren’t bad enough with the black plague, killing millions, there’s a sense in the air that someone – or something – must be blamed for all the anguish, and so the spiteful eyes and suspicious hearts of the populace of England turn to sniffing out so-called witches in the land, which invariably falls on the heads of many innocent women everywhere who may be a little too pretty, too beguiling, or just too strange for the regular folk. A beautiful woman (too beautiful for the Dark Ages if you ask me) named Grace (Charlotte Kirk, a relative newcomer who comes with a great deal of controversy, but whose passion project this seems to be, as she also co-wrote it) has just dug a shallow grave for her humble farmer husband, who committed suicide after discovering he had the plague. Grace is now a too-beautiful single mother with a newborn baby and a piece of land to pay rent on, and with virtually no means but her beauty to offer to the world. But the world is a cruel and heartless place, and the land baron (Steven Waddington from The Last of the Mohicans) angles in on her, seeking her body as payment on her rent, and when he attempts to rape her, she spurns him, sending him into a rage. He rushes into the nearest tavern, inciting the dimwitted denizens into calling Grace a witch, instigating the arrival of the infamous witch finder Moorcroft (Sean Pertwee) to ride into town with his assistant, looking to quickly condemn and burn yet another “confessed” witch at the stake. But Grace, despite her stunning beauty and grief, will not confess, leading to a four-day torturous ordeal where she is stripped bare, kept awake, degraded, and mutilated, until the witch finder all but becomes exasperated with her. Finding the will through startling demonic visions and memories of her husband and hope to save her child, Grace must bring a terrible reckoning upon the land baron and the witch finder, but it will be hell on all of them.