FilmFett

2018-05-19
17:14:17

The Devils

The Devils is a British Sureal-Horror film about a vain priest during the 16th century who rediscovers his faith after being falsely accused of witchcraft. It is one of the most provocative and notorious British films in history. To this day it remains heavily censored without any intention of an uncut release. Even incomplete, The Devils stands as one of the best British films ever made and a career highlight for maverick director, Ken Russell.
What is immediately noticeable about this film is just how aggressively stylized it is. The massive geometric sets and outlandish costumes make the film more like a twisted science fiction than a period piece. History buffs looking for an accurate representation of the times are best to look elsewhere. During his prime, Ken Russell had one of the absolute best eyes for unforgettable imagery. Personally I would deeply prefer whatever psychedelic nightmare landscape he would conjure to any factual based interpretation.
The cast and performances are unanimously strong with no weak links to be found. British hellraiser Oliver Reed gives the performance of his career as Urban Grandier, a worldly priest who is more interested in sleeping around than sermonizing. When not bedding all of the women that he meets, he also has a strong righteous streak when it comes to defending his city against the corrupt influence of the Monarchy and the Catholic Church.  As the conspiracy against his reputation and life expands, he becomes humbled and takes his faith and position more seriously. His growth from womanizer into an unbreakable and honorable holy man is handled superbly. At first you think of him as an egotistical jerk, but his change of heart feels earned. By the end, you are firmly on his side. He is a commanding presence and a surprisingly sympathetic anti-hero. Reed ascends The Devils into classic status.
Filmfett is unaware about its stance on nudity so we're just gonna omit a picture of the scene where like 50 nuns preform an orgy on a jesus statue....sorry Brad!

Vanessa (Liam Neeson’s Mother in Law) Redgrave makes for the other powerful leading role, as Sister Jean, a depraved hunchback nun who is erotically fixated on Grandier. So deep does her obsession run, that she will even accuse him of being in league with Satan for ignoring her. At moments, she does seem to have a conscious and is out of her depth in this massive conspiracy, being only a nun who has no idea how to properly deal with her sexual obsessions, but she gets manipulated into doing some pretty horrible things. She is a tragic, pathetic, and deeply freakish character who is whipped into a religious fervor to serve the corruption of the monarchy.
The most memorable of the supporting cast has to be Gemma Jones, as Madeline, Grandier’s love interest. Aside from falling in love and marrying a priest, she is the sole innocent of the film. Her angle doesn’t feel forced and is actually one of the most important aspects to the film. She helps Grandier restore his faith and become a more honorable man. At the center of this anarchic and disturbing film, she makes for the heart of the film.
Its hard to think that this handsome devil can sing like an angel in Tommy

The monarchy is represented by Dudley Sutton, as the affluent Baron who wishes to take control of Grandier’s city. He’s the sinister force that conspires a plot to have our hero executed by accusing him of practicing witchcraft and stirring up the populace to demand his death. This is done with the help of a crooked witch hunter, where they capture a convent of nuns, convince them that they are possessed by devils, and command them to blaspheme as much as possible so that their souls could be saved with Grandier’s death. It’s an insane plan that culminates in a legendarily graphic nun orgy sequence. Depending on the version you’re watching, they even tear down a gigantic monument of Christ and use it as a sexual aid in an epic moment of film blasphemy. For a film about rediscovering faith, fighting against corruption, and dying for causes greater than oneself, not unlike A Clockwork Orange, the greater themes to The Devils have a real tendency to get lost among lunatic behavior, nakedness, and gaudy stylistic choices. It’s the type of film where the more you see it, the more you are going to get out of it. Because on that first viewing, you’re just going to get bowled over by it’s over the top style and characters to figure out what exactly is going on.
See, Johnny wasnt fucking Lisas bellybottom, Humans have a special fuck-hole that you can also kiss, it's gross but who am I to judge??

Orchestral music going through schizoid mood swings makes for the score of the film. It can become gentle and romantic when the moment needs be, but can also become heavily chaotic. During the most violent and frightening scenes of the film, it sounds like the strings from the instrument are being torn out. This wild sound could easily give people a headache and just sounds like random nuttiness. I myself love the score, because it is apropos that a chaotic film have a chaotic soundtrack. That and when the film does slow down, it proves itself achingly beautiful and heartbreaking.

For those up for an excessively violent and sexual tour de force, The Devils is a brilliant and complex moral fable by a British legend at the height of his confidence and ability. The Devils will be blessed with 4.5/5 golden cameras
 
Brad
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