HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
   
 
Newest Articles
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
   
 
  Physician, The A dose of Medieval Medicine
Year: 2013
Director: Philipp Stölzl
Stars: Tom Payne, Stellan Skarsgård, Olivier Martinez, Emma Rigby, Elyas M'Barek, Fahri Yardim, Makram Khoury, Michael Marcus, Ben Kingsley, Stanley Townsend, Emil Marwa, Martin Hancock, Adam Thomas Wright
Genre: Drama, Historical, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: As a nine year old growing up in 11th Century London, Rob Cole (Adam Thomas Wright) felt the life force slip away from his mother as she died. Separated from his family, the maturing Rob (Tom Payne) becomes apprentice to a travelling Barber (Stellan Skarsgård). Barbers being among the few people with any medical knowledge during the Dark Ages. Eventually Rob's growing curiosity about medicine drives him to undertake a perilous journey to the city of Ispahan in Persia. There he hopes to study with the most renowned physician of the age: Ibn Sina (Ben Kingsley). To sidestep the ban on Christian students, Rob disguises himself as a Jew and perseveres through the tyranny of Shah Ala ad Daula (Olivier Martinez) and growing resistance to the medical school orchestrated by religious leaders, to unravel the secrets of fighting disease.

This intelligent, engrossing historical drama adapted from the bestseller by American novelist Noah Gordon was a significant box-office hit in its native Germany yet curiously unheralded elsewhere. Filmed in English with an international cast, The Physician presents a fascinating insight into the practice of medicine both in Europe and the Middle East in its early form the Eleventh century. The film also touches on the religious zealotry, political skulduggery and basic ignorance that stood in opposition to the progress of medical science. To its credit the film acknowledges significant contributions made by Christians, Jews and Muslims whilst also signposting instances where practitioners of all three faiths were guilty of intolerance, bigotry and sheer willful ignorance. In that sense The Physician proves as as much a plea for cooperation and understanding between faiths as it is a story about one man's search for knowledge.

Early on the film stumbles slightly with a broad and bawdy depiction of disease-ridden England that is a little too Monty Python-esque for comfort. However it gradually finds its feet and although overstated at times remains sincere, engaging contemplative and unflinching in its depiction of the harsh realities of life in the Dark Ages. Here the one taboo shared by all faiths is the dissection of human anatomy, which most equate with necromancy but which Rob comes to argue is the last frontier that could lead to the next great medical breakthrough. While Rob's seemingly paranormal ability to sense death is a semi-fantastical conceit at odds with the movie's surface reality there is an interesting metaphysical angle to the plot. Rob's encounter with a dying Zoroastrian enables him to see that the soul is eternal and thus move beyond the constrictive notion of the body as sacred.

Between them director Philip Stölzl and co-screenwriters Jan Berger, Simon Block and Christopher Müller deftly interweave the multiple strands of Gordon's sprawling story. Along with exploring the simmering racial, religious and political tensions inherent in the material The Physician also does a surprisingly solid job interweaving what lesser epics might render a superfluous star-crossed romantic sub-plot between Rob and Rebecca (Emma Rigby), a nice Jewish girl betrothed to a self-serving merchant. Well played by young leads Payne and Rigby the love story is genuinely moving and perhaps more importantly consistent with the movie's principal themes rather than tacked on for crowd-pleasing effect. Stölzl, a specialist in lavish German historical epics and action-thrillers, crafts handsome visuals on a suitably epic scale. Yet he wisely downplays swordplay and keeps the emphasis suitably on Rob's journey to becoming a physician, climaxing not with a battle but life-serving surgery (his first incision is shown creatively from inside the body). Stellan Skarsgård delivers a lively but still poignant turn as the ageing barber slowly going blind and Ben Kingsley is well cast as Rob's wise mentor, but the film rests on the shoulders of wide-eyed Tom Payne who performs ably. A beautiful ending nicely closes the arc bringing things back to the beginning.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1507 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: