'Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas' Movie Review

"Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas" Movie Review: 2 Stars

by Robert Abele

Hot on the heels of the injustice tale "The Hunt," stone-faced Danish heartthrob Mads Mikkelsen plays another wronged man in the medieval saga "Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas."

Adapted from the influential 16th century German novella but set now in France, the film chronicles the escalating methods taken by an honorable horse merchant (Mikkelsen) to seek recompense for a cruel baron's horse thievery.

Faced with corruption, Kohlhaas stirs the peasants to embark with him on a campaign of bloody retribution with lasting consequences for his family, livelihood and belief in the rule of law.

This medieval epic explores the high cost of vengeance. With the age of feudalism in decline, Europe rests at a tense crossroads between the old world and the new. Respected, well-to-do horse merchant Michael Kohlhaas is a loving husband and family man leading a peaceful existence, until a ruthless nobleman steals his horses, setting off a chain of irreversible events. Kohlhaas resorts to extremes after these crimes destroy his livelihood and trust in the law, igniting a rampage through the countryside in his quest for justice.

It's a strong story of lonely, even futile righteousness, which makes the plodding execution by director Arnaud des Pallieres somewhat mystifying.

A sense of indirect engagement with the material hovers over the proceedings, save a piercing moral debate about duty between Kohlhaas and a pastor (Denis Lavant) and cinematography paired with sound -- increasingly bleak countrysides smacked by brutal winds -- that more than suggests existential struggle.

The real disappointment, though, is how checked-out Mikkelsen seems, content to rest on his naturally brooding, matinee stoicism when the movie could have used a jolting central performance of the kind Max von Sydow regularly provided for Ingmar Bergman.


No MPAA rating. Running time: 2:02.


"Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas" Movie Trailer

"Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas" is a drama with also a bit of comedy. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort star in the film about what true love really is, even when two people are young and going against unimaginable odds. This film is based off of a bestselling book and will captivate your heart

'Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas' Movie Review & Movie Trailer