Third impressions: Pilgrimage and Richard Armitage [still no spoilers]

It was a bit of a wild day; in the early afternoon I saw a car hit a pedestrian on Lexington Avenue. (I don’t know what happened to the victim but when I left the scene she was breathing.) Made me very careful crossing intersections afterward.

Big success tonight: I was on the subway, already at 14th St, when I realized I’d forgotten to put my printed ticket in my bag. I figured out how to use my phone to get into my mail, find the ticket, and download it so I could enter with VR code reader. All by myself. Wow. I may have to try to revisit my hostility toward smart phones. I’m pretty sure I could not have made back up to where I was staying and back down in time, maybe not even with an expensive cab, considering it was Friday evening.

So: last chance to see it (as far as we know) until August 11. I saw that the LA Times listed its release date with its summer movies list today, though. I’m glad I did this because the odds that the film will come any closer than a two hour drive away from me are low, so weirdly this may have been my best chance to see it repeatedly on a large screen. That was totally worth it.

Violence reaction report: four people walked out of the theater tonight after the second or third major violent / disgusting moment (not telling you what it is). The woman next to me said at the end, “I heard it was violent but I wasn’t prepared for that!”

Thoughts about tonight: I continue to be occupied by Richard Armitage’s eyes. I was thinking that there is the whole range of expressions that we, the non-Francophone world, call “Gallic,” and there are several of them in his repertoire here. (Leaving aside whether one can call a Norman, French, in 1209, since he’s speaking French, or whether they had this particular facial pattern eight centuries ago.) The look of Gallic indifference (not the shrug, per se, but the facial expression that goes with it), the facial tilt that seems to indicate a moment of surprise or irony, for instance. I mean, I’m not French but he does a decent job of seeming French. It will be interesting to see what the French fans thing when they see it. They give him a really good speech (in terms of content) fairly near the end of the film (in the scene that that still he tweeted where you see him in silhouette comes from) and the final part of it is in French and it’s pretty important to understanding him — and I think he does it pretty well, actually. Ainsi va le monde! It’s a desperate moment. I’ll have more to say about it eventually, I hope. (see below)

Also something that struck me: there’s a scene where he’s releasing / sending off a passenger pigeon. (The number of different animal trainers in the film’s credits is impressive. I mean, pigeon wrangler? Who knew that was a thing?) We see him standing from the rear, in all of his gear except the armor, so he has on leather boots to the knees, he has on breeches and then his maroon tunic and cape, which goes about to mid-calf, and the cape has two sort of striped pieces that hang off the rear of his shoulders — and I think he maybe has his mail hood, but not over his head. He’s wearing these huge gloves that look like gauntlets (so originally I thought he was maybe falconing, because who needs these robust gloves for launching a pigeon). Anyway, you see him from the rear, and then you see just his forearms in the gloves, holding and releasing the pigeon, and then the camera pans up to his face as he watches the bird fly away.

It just gave me such a twinge, the whole scene. Not because of the content of the scene so much as the way you see him from the rear — there are several other characters we’ve seen from the rear at this point, most notably the mute (John Bernthal), so there’s that kind of contrasting picture there — but he’s standing alone in the middle of the woods, secluded, and even though he’s powerful and wearing all these clothes, he looks slight and meditative and tonight I thought, I wonder what would have happened if things had been different. Wistful, I guess, the rear view and the release of the pigeon made him vulnerable, observed, and me contemplative.

Really, this character might be the source of a thousand fanfics.

OK, so the plan is — go home tomorrow, which unfortunately will take most of the day. I’ve definitely got more to say about this film; I’m thinking about a spoiler-free review that will be shorter and a review with spoilers that will be quite a bit longer. In the end, despite my best efforts, this film got under my skin.

~ by Servetus on April 29, 2017.

24 Responses to “Third impressions: Pilgrimage and Richard Armitage [still no spoilers]”

  1. re fanfics: please note, that it was me who wrote the first Ray-fanfic almost exactly one year ago…. 😁 (The knight in my bathtub)


  2. He’s had some experience holding birds. When I saw the pigeon scene it reminded me of the Robin Hood episode where Guy is tenderly holding one of the Sheriff’s birds, with his clunky black gloves, and let’s him free because the Sheriff surprises him by telling him the King (Richard) is coming to Nottingham ( so he Guy can finally marry Marian.)


  3. Woah!! Congratulations on the major technology milestone victory!!! 😀

    I’d almost equate this to Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy’s acceptance of transporter efficiency to his own preference of having a shuttle craft move him from one location to another! 😀


  4. The bird scene almost sounds like a little bit of (light) relief – with potential for imagining that the violent, merciless knight actually does possess feeling. I’m looking forward to your big review.


    • Me too. I can’t seem to stay away from spoilers. I think I have a problem with delayed gratification, among other things. As a Walking Dead fan, I don’t think the violence will bother me much. But maybe not. It must be extreme to make people walk out.


      • It sounds pretty bad, so far. But well, I have sat through Hannibal, with stomach turning, so I’ll survive this, too. If it makes it into cinemas here, at all…


        • how can it not be shown in Ireland? I mean, y’all paid for it and all. With your television fees, as the Vorspann informs us …


          • I am sure it’ll be released as a DVD, or make its way onto the late night programme of TG5 (the Irish language station), but I am somehow not so sure it’ll see a theatrical release…


      • I was thinking the same thing. Hands up people still remembering the chip fryer scene in MI-5? 🖐


    • It’s light in the sense that you get a chance to breathe out, and you see Diarmuid (Tom Holland) observing him. But he ramps up the tension a lot pretty quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Knowing the time period in which the movie is set, I imagine heads will come off and someone will be gutted (å la Braveheart). It’s hard for me to watch such violence so, yes, I’ll be covering my eyes quite a bit. Too bad I don’t have someone who’ll want to see it with me.

    As for the bird scene, if anyone can portray the nuances of a tormented man and show his humanity (slight as it may be) – it’s our lovely man. He probably looks very imposing as Raymond. Too bad he’s wearing a cape; no shot of the peaches? 😉


  6. I would be interested in the violent scenes. I am very much interested in seeing the film but I am not a big fan of gore; a little prep might come in handy. I enjoy seeing Richard in something different. Thanks.


  7. Yikes on the accident and yay for technology! 🙂
    Yeah, the violence sounds pretty bad… Somehow makes me think of some scenes of the Robin Hood movie with Russel Crowe and Mark Strong as the baddy. The way Mark Strong dies is pretty gruesome.
    Love the sound of that dove scene.


  8. […] times at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Individual reactions from those nights are here, here and here. This is an attempt at a coherent evaluation of the film, but if you read those posts, this […]


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