Medieval Parent Guide
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Parent Movie Review
Wenceslaus IV, King of Bohemia (Karel Roden) is broke, overstretched, and in serious trouble. If he wants to be seen as the legitimate ruler, he needs to go to Rome to be crowned by the Pope – or, at least, the Pope he supports, since the King of France has recently established another papacy in Avignon. Ranged against Wenceslaus are Lord Rosenberg (Til Schweiger), the richest baron in Bohemia, who refuses to lend him the money he needs to make the journey; and his own brother, King Sigsmund of Hungary (Matthew Goode), who has unwelcome ideas about who should be sitting on the throne of Bohemia.
All Wenceslaus has going for him is the good advice of Lord Bores (Michael Caine), who tries to steer the unwitting king through the turbulent waters of his kingdom’s politics – but Lord Bores isn’t about to put all his eggs in one basket. He hires Jan Zizka (Ben Foster), a brilliant and innovative warrior, to kidnap Lord Rosenberg’s fiancée, Katherine (Sophie Lowe) as leverage against her future husband. The political situation in Bohemia is as unstable as a two-legged stool, and the balance of power fluctuates wildly… and the only reliable bargaining chip seems to be Katherine herself. Now all Jan needs to do is return Katherine to Wenceslaus IV before his grip on the country crumbles completely.
On the face of it, Medieval should be a really interesting movie. It’s about an unfamiliar part of history (meaning I should have a harder time guessing the ending for a change); an era full of intrigue and betrayal. Heck, it’s even got Michael Caine, and that ought to be good for something. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seem to have forgotten that films need an arc of some description. If I had to describe this film’s narrative trajectory, I might liken it to the ersatz scribbles of a deranged toddler. The film will wallow in a political episode, populated by characters nearly devoid of personality, and then in a fit of excitement, will cut over to the protagonist so he can tear someone’s face off with his colossal flanged mace.
I may have tipped you off to the fact that there’s a bit of gore in the film. (Okay, you caught me. There’s a truckload of gore.) Think about it: if you take a flanged mace to the head at speed, your head stands a good chance of looking like a mulched pumpkin about a week after Halloween, with your face sailing gaily off like a bloody napkin. Obviously, scenes like that don’t make for comfortable family entertainment. Then there are two completely pointless scenes of female nudity, one of which occurs in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it rape scene, which could have been cut from the film entirely with no effect on the storyline.
I’m more than a little disappointed since I really wanted to like this movie. European depictions of the medieval period are always an interesting contrast to whatever Hollywood pumps out, but Medieval can’t manage to deliver a riveting story. I’d say this might be a good film for Czech history buffs, but between the gore and what I believe are some very creative liberties taken with the historical record, it might just be a movie to avoid.Directed by Petr Jákl. Starring Ben Foster, Sophie Lowe, Michael Caine. Running time: 126 minutes. Theatrical release September 9, 2022. Updated September 8, 2022
Rating & Content Info
Why is Medieval rated R? Medieval is rated R by the MPAA for strong and grisly violent content throughout, and some nudity.
Violence: People are frequently bloodily murdered, including stabbings, shootings, bludgeonings, beheadings, and general dismemberments. A teenager is impaled on a spike and left to die slowly. Burning corpses are seen. A boy is nearly hanged. A man bites another man’s nose off in combat. An individual has their eye destroyed in a fight and is later seen deliberately putting maggots in that eye to eat the damaged tissue. A character commits suicide by jumping from a great height.
Sexual Content: A woman is briefly seen nude in an adulterous situation. One scene briefly depicts a violent rape with female toplessness.
Profanity: There are infrequent uses of mild cursing.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are infrequently seen drinking alcohol.
Page last updated September 8, 2022
Medieval Parents' Guide
For historical background for this film, you can try the following links:
Wikipedia: Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia