I was lucky to be able to go to New York on April 23 to see the premiere of Pilgrimage at the TRIBECA Film Festival starring Richard Armitage.
Beware of Spoilers below.
These are just my impressions of the film and Richard Armitage as Raymond De Merville.
I'll try to keep it fairly free of spoilers, though there are bound to be some. I know other RA fans have posted already about seeing the movie on Sunday, so by now many things have been revealed.
I found that the movie was much more than what I expected from watching the trailer. The location, scenery, and music set the stage and we were transported to another time, and another world.
To me the story is about a fight for control and conquest, of Ireland and the world, by two powerful groups in 1209, the Normans and the Catholic church.
I loved the use of three different languages in the film (or was it four?). Gaelic, French and English not only marks each of the groups we're about to meet as different, but again serves to take us to another time. As a bilingual person who also speaks a third language, I felt instantly comfortable with the use of different languages, and of English as the "common tongue". Reminded me of the use of "Spanglish" in my life. (But have no fear, there are subtitles).
The locations in Ireland and Belgium are beautiful yet unearthly. The perfect composition and selection of music also contribute to transporting us into another time.
Being a non-native French speaker myself (fair, not fluent), I thought Richard Armitage did a marvelous job speaking French. I was impressed. He was very natural, even when speaking with Frenchman Stanley Weber.
Richard Armitage rides in as the perfect villain. From the moment he takes off his helmet, you know Sir Raymond is a man used to intimidating people, and liking it. He looks marvelous. Richard was born to wear chain mail and wield a sword.
I've seen Richard play bad guys before, but he's particularly villainous as Raymond De Merville.
The actors and their great performances really make this movie worth seeing. Great performances by Stanley Weber, Jon Bernthal, Tom Holland, and Richard Armitage. But also wonderful performances by the other monks in this story, John Lynch, Hugh O'Connor, and all the other actors that I haven't mentioned individually. The actors more than the story really make this film worth watching.
Pilgrimage is an indie action film with historical and religious tones. This is not a historical epic, or a historical documentary. It is also blood and gore and violence. Worth seeing for the locations, the music, and most of all for the great actors in this film.
I hope Richard Armitage fans around the world will get a chance to see it, and will go and see it.
I greatly enjoyed the Q&A at the end with some of the cast, the director, writer, and producers, of Pilgrimage.
Photo by Aram Tertzakian