By Jack Rico
‘Season of the Witch’ is Nicolas Cage’s (Oscar winner) new check. He sleepwalks through the whole film with a narcotized stare yearning for someone to yank him and offer him Leaving Las Vegas all over again. The movie’s premise is modestly interesting, but the disjointed and uninspiring dialogue, the sparseness of an absorbing material, and the monotone and mechanical acting leaves much to be desired of Dominic Sena’s fifth effort.
Here’s the plot: Nicolas Cage plays an heroic Crusader with his closest friend, Felson (Ron Perlman) who return home after decades of fierce fighting, only to find their world destroyed by the Plague. The church elders, convinced that a girl accused of being a witch is responsible for the devastation, command the two to transport the strange girl (Claire Foy) to a remote monastery where monks will perform an ancient ritual to rid the land of her curse. One by one his fellow travelers meet with misfortune, and the embattled Crusader finds himself facing his most terrifying adversary.
‘Season of the Witch’ is an action adventure film that is inconsistent; it has its highs and very deep lows such as the incredulousness of Cage playing a religious Crusader prompting some inner chuckles on my behalf. There are some intriguing ideas that never fully follow through such as Claire Foy’s witch character which shows up whimsically without any explanation. The film goes hot and cold very frequently and then reaches, during the trip to the monastery, absurdity. No return from there.
Nonetheless, I did, apologetically, like the entertainment value of the action sequences, enough for me not to pummel the film into paper ash. So then, is ‘Season of the Witch’ bad or good enough to eek by and watch? It belongs in the ‘don’t spend your hard earned cash to see this at the theater,’ but if it’s on HBO one night, you can get your kicks and laughs out of Cage’s and Perlman’s Batman and Robin routine without guilt.