Solomon Kane (film)

Solomon Kane
SolomonKANEposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael J. Bassett
Produced by
Written byMichael J. Bassett
Based onCharacters by Robert E. Howard
Starring
Music byKlaus Badelt
CinematographyDan Laustsen
Edited byAndrew MacRitchie
Production
company
Davis Films
Czech Anglo Productions
Wandering Star Pictures
Distributed by
Release date
  • 23 December 2009 (2009-12-23) (France)
  • 19 February 2010 (2010-02-19) (UK)
Running time
104 minutes[1]
Country
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Czech Republic
LanguageEnglish[1]
Budget$40 million
Box office$19.6 million.[2]

Solomon Kane is a 2009 French-British-Czech dark fantasy action-adventure film written and directed by Michael J. Bassett based on the pulp magazine character Solomon Kane created in 1928 by Robert E. Howard. James Purefoy stars in the title role.[3] Despite optioning the rights in 1997, filming did not begin until January 2008.

The film is an original story for the Kane character and was intended to be the first of a trilogy. The plot follows a redemption story for Kane, from the end of his life as a privateer, through the salvation of his soul by rescuing a Puritan girl and the beginning of his life as the Puritan avenger of the source material. It was produced by a consortium of French, Czech, and British companies and mostly filmed in the Czech Republic. The film was first shown at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. It went on general release in France, Spain, and the UK over the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. It has a Rotten Tomatoes "fresh" rating of 67%.

The screenplay was novelised by award-winning fantasy author Ramsey Campbell.

Plot

In the year 1600, in North Africa, English mercenary Solomon Kane leads his ship's crew into battle against the Ottoman occupiers of a fortress town. After defeating the defenders, Kane and his men raid the fortress, where most of the crew are killed by demons. Kane fights his way to the throne room, but, before he can loot the riches, he is confronted by a demon, calling itself the "Devil's Reaper", who tells him his soul is forfeit to Satan after his life of sin. Solomon rejects his fate and jumps out a window to escape. Following this encounter, Solomon returns to England and finds sanctuary in a monastery. After a prophetic dream, the abbot apologetically expels Kane, and Kane travels by foot to his ancestral estate, from which he had been expelled in his youth after defying his father. Along the way, he is ambushed by robbers who mock his vow of pacifism and leave him for dead. He is found and treated by the Crowthorns, a family of Puritans traveling west to the New World. When the Crowthorns are slaughtered by corrupted followers of the evil sorcerer Malachi, Kane renounces his vows and swears to avenge their deaths and rescue Meredith Crowthorn, who has been marked by a witch and kidnapped by the Masked Rider, Malachi's lieutenant.

Kane battles Malachi's followers across the countryside, rescuing many captives but not finding Meredith. On his journey, he meets a deranged priest who explains Malachi's followers are taking the weaker survivors of their raids as slaves and corrupting the strong into soldiers. The priest tries to feed Kane to his parishioners, who have become ghouls, but Kane escapes, only to face the robbers who attacked him earlier, now corrupted servants of Malachi. He kills two of the robbers and interrogates the survivor, who tells Solomon that Meredith is dead. Kane throws the robber to the ghouls, and, believing his quest for redemption has failed, drinks to excess at a country inn. Former shipmates recognise him and try to recruit him as a leader of a resistance against Malachi, but Kane refuses. Malachi's followers attack the inn at dawn and crucify the leaders of the resistance, including Kane. As Kane hangs on the cross, Meredith cries out his name from her cage in the back of the raiders' wagon; Kane realises that he still has a chance to save her and pulls himself free. Before Malachi's remaining men can finish him, they are killed by survivors of the resistance, who take Kane to safety. Kane is healed by an old witch and is soon anxious to confront the raiders.

The resistance explain Malachi's background as a former healer who made a bargain with the Devil, and reveal that he now lives in Kane's ancestral home. Kane leads them into the castle via an underground passage, and, as the resistance fights Malachi's soldiers, Kane heads for the dungeons and frees many of the captives. There he finds not Meredith but his father, who explains that the Masked Rider is Kane's older brother Marcus, whom Kane thought he had accidentally killed after his banishment. Instead, Marcus was critically injured, and, when healers failed to revive him, his father turned to Malachi. Disfigured and turned to Malachi's will, Marcus became the Masked Rider. Solomon reluctantly acquiesces to his father's request and kills him, then heads to the throne room to confront Malachi. There, Kane finds Meredith in a cage, and as she warns him of a trap, Marcus stabs him in the back. Kane tries to reason with Marcus, but they engage in a duel; Kane wins after setting Marcus on fire and decapitating him. Malachi uses Meredith's blood to release a demon sent to claim Kane's soul, but Kane shoots Malachi dead and sacrifices himself to close the portal. Meredith believes Kane to be dead, but he awakens and explains that he has finally redeemed his soul. Kane reunites Meredith with her remaining family and buries his father and brother. In a final voice-over, he declares his intention to roam the Earth and oppose the forces of darkness.