Season of the Witch
Nicolas Cage's latest is no place for women
What a week for women at the movies! In “Country Strong,’’ Gwyneth Paltrow is too drunk to sing her way through sold-out concerts. And the witch in “Season of the Witch’’ spends her time in a rolling 14th-century jail. Nicolas Cage plays a holy knight, who after one chuckling montage of slow-motion Crusade battles, has decided that he’s tired of all the knighting. He and a wise-cracking co-worker (Ron Perlman) find themselves conscripted to take the town witch (Claire Foy) to a far away abbey in order to rid the kingdom of the plague.
The movie doesn’t come with 3-D glasses, a control pad, or much in the way of a screenplay (by Bragi F. Schut) or direction (from Dominic Sena). It is, however, loud and full of damp fabric and damper hair. We are not the only ones who go without. Cage spends most of the film without the products and appliances that give his hair that Nickleback quality of both the early scenes and a few of his recent movies. His character here accidentally kills a woman, turning him off to killing altogether, even, as we’re told, for Christ. This is presumably why he puts up with the caged woman’s taunts: guilt.
His remorse doesn’t extend to the filmmakers. The men credited for typing the movie up supply Foy, a young Englishwoman, with a part she can’t seem to figure out. The credits refer to her character as “The Girl,’’ which is nicer than she’s called by a few of the men hauling her around. One minute The Girl is superhumanly strong. The other she’s superhumanly meek, pleading to be released from her cage-cart. “Some good deeds can be done,’’ she tells Sir Nicolas. “Even from behind bars.’’ A line like that might give even some strippers pause.
After a while, the movie tires of the witch business and trots out a plot twist that permits the effects department to spend money. Some moviegoers might find the bait-and-switch funny. Some might wish the studio had been a little more upfront. But, to be fair, “Season of Misogyny’’ isn’t much of a title, either.