Having just written about George and the Dragon (here) with James Purefoy, I was in the mood to watch another Templar role of his but this time a more serious one. Ironclad (2011).
Shortly after the signing of the Magna Carta, King John (Paul Giamatti), aided by Danish mercenaries, sets out to restore his absolute reign and dispose of those barons who had signed the document. For strategic purposes, he heads for Rochester Castle. Through as series of events, Templar Thomas Marshall (James Purefoy) with the support of Archbishop Langton (Charles Dance) and Baron William d’Aubigny (Brian Cox) gather a group of men to put a stop to the tyrannical king. So the fight to keep Rochester Castle from falling to King John commences. And what a gory and bloody fight it is. If you’re squeamish, give this one a miss. Lots of decapitation and limbs being hacked off. Make no mistake – this one is brutal and violent.
While not historically accurate, similar events did take place. That aside, I still find Ironclad good and watch it when I’m in the mood for something “less light”. It also triggered me to go research the real events that took place.
As always, I enjoy James Purefoy and he suits these type of roles. As a character, underneath all the toughness he is brave and human. He doesn’t just drop his Templar vows and fall for the temptations of Lady Isabel (Kate Mara) but gradually lets go of his past giving him so much more depth. Their developing relationship is perfectly understated (yes, I’m a sucker for romance in these kind of movies). If you haven’t seen Mackenzie Crook in a more serious role (you’ll probably know him from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise), you’ll be surprised here. I thoroughly enjoy his screen presence (he’s also wonderful in the series that was cancelled way too soon Almost Human). Other faces you’ll recognise are Jason Flemyng, Derek Jacobi, Jamie Foreman, Rhys Parry Jones, Aneurin Barnard, Annabelle Apsion and Vladimir Kulich.
So, if you’re in the mood for something heavier have a look out for Ironclad.