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Bathory
Reviewed by Nov 16th, 2009

Bathory-Bathory-582170Running a bit more than two hours and divided into three segments, Bathory was one of the highest-budget Central European productions ever. Where one might be expecting a salacious tale of bathing in blood and lesbianism, this actually negates the whole legend of Erzabet Bathory. Here, she is a devout Protestant with no lesbian inclinations, though she does commit adultery with the painter Caravaggio. She’s also no real murderess here, certainly not a serial killer, though there is one murder she commits in the film.

Anna Friel stars as the countess, and looks great in huge hairpieces and period costumes, but in the end, I felt that the character could have stood to be developed a bit more. She’s just not as three-dimensional as she could be, though the portrayal is good enough. I don’t think it’s the actress’s fault, just that she’s not written in a way that we care very deeply for her at the end. Some of the other characters seemed a bit better-written, like the painter, but others were lost in the shuffle. I often lost track of who was doing what to whom. The priest and his helper reminded me way too much of Sean Connery and Christian Slater’s characters in The Name of the Rose.

The production values were good, the costumes and battle scenes were all very well done. It’s certainly a nice film to look at. There is some odd humor here and there, though it has the general feel of a depressing fairy tale. The acting is generally quite good, though there is a wide variety of accents which seems a bit strange in parts. The film seems to attempt to change your perception of Bathory, portraying her as more of a Renaissance woman before her time, rather than a psychotic murderer who liked to bathe in the blood of virgins. It takes some time to get into this film, but after a while I found it rather compelling. An enjoyable film, and rather odd.

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