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Age of Uprising
Germany, France
Drama, History
IMDB rating:
Arnaud des Pallières
Sergi López as The Armless
Paul Bartel as Jérémie
Roxane Duran as The Princess
Amira Casar as The Abbess
Denis Lavant as The Theologist
Swann Arlaud as The Baron
Jacques Nolot as The Lawyer
David Bennent as César
Mads Mikkelsen as Michael Kohlhaas
David Kross as The Preacher
Bruno Ganz as The Governor
Storyline: In the 16th century in the Cévennes, a horse dealer by the name of Michael Kohlhaas leads a happy family life. When a lord treats him unjustly, he raises an army and puts the country to fire and sword in order to have his rights restored.
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720p 1268x544 px 1468 Mb h264 1689 Kbps mkv Download
HQ DVD-rip 720x304 px 1244 Mb mpeg4 1432 Kbps mkv Download
Slow, ponderous, anticlimactic
A slow, ponderous, anticlimactic movie. Had a lot of potential: a 16th century revenge-movie, with comments on justice and how royalty treat their subjects. Yet, it only really touches on these subjects. Nothing is completely explored. There was so much room to make big, bold statements, yet the director pulls his punches.

Even the end just feels like a damp squib. Yes, there's an emotional element, but there is no point. All the points the movie seemed to be striving to make at some stage, go up in smoke. What a waste.

Good performance by Mads Mikkelsen in the lead role. Does his contract state that he has to be in every non-English European movie nowadays? It feels like it is. He is everywhere, and in various languages too. A highly talented actor.

His presence would be about the only positive to the movie.
Mikkelsen is far better than the material he's been given...
The above summary was provided by my lovely wife as she watched the movie with me. While I wouldn't have exactly phrased it that way, it is to the point and I cannot deny this does, in an odd way, encapsulate what the movie "Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas" is for the average viewer. It's a shame, because I had expected more from this film since it stars a very exciting actor, the Danish man of many talents, Mads Mikkelsen--a guy you probably recognize but whose name you might not.

Mikkelsen has received a lot of attention in the States lately with his performance as the lead in the TV series "Hannibal". His portrayal of the serial killer is far different from earlier ones--with a much more thoughtful and sophisticated persona than other Hannibals. Before this, he received a lot of publicity as one of James Bond's villains in "Casino Royale". However, I have known about him long before this, as he's been a star in Danish films for some time--and I really love Danish movies. Interestingly, here in "Age of Uprising", Mikkelsen speaks French--not English or Danish. My daughter (a HUGE fan of "Hannibal"") did some research for me about this and found that the actor also speaks German and Russian! Wow...he certainly isn't a dumb guy! But, he's simply done many better films than this particular one.

The film is based on the true story of Hans Kohlhase---a 16th century rebel who, for a time, plagued Germany. His life was the basis of a novel by the German author Heinrich von Kleist and the story was first brought to film in 1969 as "Michael Kohlhaas--der Rebell" (starring the British actor David Warner).

When the story begins, a nobleman seizes some horses belonging to the merchant, Michael Kohlhaas. He had no legal basis for doing this but to make matters worse, he savagely sent his dogs on Kohlhaas' servant and then mistreated the horses severely. In response, Kohlhaas sued the nobleman. Unfortunately, back in the day, life wasn't necessarily fair- -and Kohlhaas' case was thrown out of court. Soon, Kohlhaas' wife is murdered in retribution for the lawsuit. With no other apparent choices other than to just accept this injustice, Kohlhaas and his men go on a vigilante crusade--dispensing their form of justice through the countryside. What's next? Well, you could watch the film...or just read Wikipedia. Unfortunately, I'd recommend the latter. Why? Because the story IS an interesting case of class warfare and should have been exciting--sort of like a German version of "Braveheart". Unfortunately, it's not. The film is tedious and extremely bereft of life when it should have been inspiring and exciting. The musical score is extremely stark and minimalistic--adding to the tedium that you see on the screen. The movie manages to make the least of the great source material.

The bottom line is that I loved Mads Mikkelsen's work...just not this particular film. My advice is to try watching his best films--such as his Oscar-nominated movies "The Hunt" and "After the Wedding" as well as "Flame and Citron". These are truly exceptional and show off Mikkelsen's immense talents to their fullest.
Visually sumptuous, thought provoking.
What would you do if the legal system didn't support you or your rights? What would you do if you tried to take someone to court for compensation for something that was taken from you, and then, because of this, your family is dealt a terrible blow? Knowing you have no way to legally seek justice, would you take matters into your own hands? And once you have taken the law into your own hands, do you simply become as bad as the original aggressor? This is not something most of us have to worry about, if we live in country where rule of law is upheld. But in 16th century Europe (and in some parts of the world even now) not everyone could rely on the law.

This movie asks us to explore these questions and more. It doesn't provide us with the passive experience of sitting there and having the story, the moralities, the emotions, fed to us, as so often happens in films. It presents the material to us, and ask us to decide on who is right or wrong, who is at fault, and maybe to ask us what we might do in the same situation.

Visually, it is sumptuous, organic, exquisitely beautiful. Rugged mountain vistas, timber, earth, stone and leather. And let's not forget that it has Mads Mikkelsen as the lead character, speaking French and riding horses. This is a combination that is hard to beat, for sensory appeal. I don't speak French so I have no idea how his Danish accent is accounted for in the film, but his steely stares to the horizon and his drive for justice, and the consequences that follow, are powerful to watch.

This film is definitely on the art-house side of film-making, and probably wont appeal to those who want everything delivered to them, but asks us powerful questions about rights and wrongs, actions and their consequences, while delivering a beautiful visual experience.
Picturesque and pretentious with little substance.
Lots of "meaningful and intense" stares, sprinkled with bits and pieces of pompous dialogue.

In 1970's would have been original and passed for an art flick. Now, flat and boring.

Kind of reminds me of Bresson's Lancelot du Lac (but not in a good way, more like tedious and boring way): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071737/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Characters speaking in different languages did feel organic and natural.

Cinematography is excellent.

The music and sound design are wonderful.
Visually stunning, but oh so slow
AGE OF UPRISING: THE LEGEND OF MICHAEL KOHLHAAS is an interesting film about a mini revolution that took place in historical France. It's often a beautifully shot film, breathtakingly so at times, and it features a typically strong performance from Mads Mikkelsen in the lead role. Mikkelsen plays a sympathetic figure, a man who becomes oppressed to the extent that he has no choice but to fight back.

The problem with AGE OF UPRISING is that it goes out of its way to be as slow and arty as is humanly possibly. There's an hour's worth of plotting and incident dragged out to two hours, and boy, does it drag. Each scene plays out for far too long, and everything seems to be deliberately subdued and painstakingly detailed. Now, I do appreciate all of the lovely scenery, and having seen this in high definition I can say it's a visually stunning film.

But movies are about more than the visuals, and in that respect AGE OF UPRISING disappoints. The traditional storyline is a familiar one and nothing much happens that hasn't been seen elsewhere. In the end you can only sit back and enjoy it to a degree - and roles for the likes of Bruno Ganz help - but without getting more fully invested in a more involving movie.
I saw it with the fresh memory about Kleist's novel. and it was not a surprise. not a disappointment. only a correct work, exploring the story's possibilities, using the perfect cast, remembering the high talent of Mikkelson and the classic recipes of European historical movie.and the result is interesting at all. for the solutions for details. for the precise science for use the landscape. for the atmosphere. for the art to transform a cold story about revenge in a film who gives more than events but useful occasion for reflection. the best thing - the courage to adapted the story of Michael Kohlhaas. the inspired thing - to give the lead role to Mikkaelson. an interesting film. far by blockbuster 's recipes. but that could be its basic virtue.
Could Go on a Diet
I concur with many of you that this movie was way to long, slow and anticlimactic.

Pictorially it was beautiful but there was so much lost potential with this film that was left omitted.

It contained lots of chatter and religious doctrine about turning your cheek, etc from a church at that time was about as ruthless as royalty in feudal times.

It started out with great expectation but ended with sad disappointment.

I had thoroughly enjoyed Mads Mikkelsen in the Pusher, and his role as Michael Kohlhaas was great.

In the end the director needed to tighten the film belt by a few notches to have made this movie a good movie.
Not for everyone.
This film is certainly not destined to large audiences. I don't think it will remain long on the big screens. It reminds me some french features such as LE FRERE DU GUERRIER, starring Vincent Lindon, or some other french films made since ten years. Films that are slow, rough, sometimes tepid, but very interesting and unusual, if you compare them to Hollywood blockbusters. This movie is dark and depressing at the most, but not as violent as you might expect. It's not IRONCLAD, FLESH AND BLOOD or BLACK DEATH. It's not a fairy tale either. So, don't misunderstand me, if you are not used to this kind of films.

I love the ending. I find it exquisite. But that's my own taste.

The gruesome actor Madds Mikaelsen who speaks in french in this film actually DID NOT UNDERSTAND ONE WORD of what he said. This is an information I got from a french website.
Slow Burner
Some people might not feel comfortable with this film, which is not surprising. It does move with a very slow pace and it is a movie about values. The question is, do you want a movie that might feel like a lecture to you? It isn't of course, but I would understand if some viewers would feel like that.

Mads is playing as strong as ever and the character is complicated, but has a strong sense of righteousness. Something that has been the downfall for many people. And standing up for yourself or others is not that easy. It's easier to just back down and take it, than to stand up and fight. But is it worth it? There are quite a few questions that you might ask yourself after watching this movie, because it does not answer everything for you ...
Fanatical and detached
Formerly a documentary maker, with one feature ADIEU under his belt, Arnaud des Pallières has obviously taken to heart the description of Von Kleist's 1810 novella as surprisingly modern in theme (a fanatical quest for justice) and style (existentialist detachment posing as a chronicle). Having nailed himself to the mast on these two principles as director and writer Pallières consequently has nowhere to go. The plot, transposed to France rather than Brandenburg, is still set in the 16th Century, and it follows Kleist's novella closely. The fanatical quest for justice is absolutely there but Kleist wrote MICHAEL KOHLHAAS as a novella. Pallières inflates it into a 122 minute film (feels longer) - not kind to Kleist or his actors, especially Mads Mikkelsen, who does all the heavy lifting. The emphasis on Kohlhaas as one of these new-fangled Protestants reading the Bible in the vernacular contributes to our understanding that this man is an outsider and a rebel in his heart. His isolated living conditions contribute to the sense of an outsider. His misreading of the power structure when he first tries to get justice through the courts and again when he orders his followers home again show him to be the outsider – all these things are in the book and in the film. The film lacks dramatic suspense – you are in no doubt what will happen from the opening confrontation with the Baron's men - and only becomes more tedious as we labour towards the conclusion. We crave suspense, light and shade and emotional variations. We don't get them. Many sequences in this film had beginnings and middles but no endings, for example where Kohlhaas and his wife are in bed together and the child comes in and tells them they are making a noise. Right, okay, so then... Some scenes are unnecessary, for instance, where Kohlhaas' adherents are seen learning the hard way that they mustn't loot. Much later Kohlhaas delivers a speech (important in the context of the nature of his revolt against authority) - his followers mustn't steal and mustn't take gifts but must pay for everything they take. Surely one of these two sequences is repetitive and weren't they out of order? In the attack on the Baron's stronghold, I was left very confused about the outcome for the woman and her crying baby. There were a lot of cross bows and arrows flying about. Does Kohlhaas accept killing everyone there or not? There are peculiar lapses in the script – Kohlhaas talks more than once about his children but we only meet the daughter so where are the others? Are his sons with him in the revolt? Apparently not. And who is Jérémie – nephew or neighbour? Existential detachment posing as a chronicle is not a natural fit for narrative cinema, for good reason. As a documentary maker Pallières knows how to make something out of the material available to him but as a narrative film-maker he has refused to shape his story, sticking to his existential detachment etc above. Unfortunately, he isn't Bergman or Brecht. The camera frames tightly on each character but there is never a sense of life going on outside the frame. In this world of people and horses the little daughter seems totally isolated. No other animals exist – where are the chickens, the sheep, the odd cat or mouse on this farm? Pallières is keen on big wide pans – unfortunately they don't give you much to read – men and horses, horses and men, occasionally a wagon. The opening with the long shot on the ridge against a brooding sky of the men leading their horses to market, introducing Michael Kohlhaas and his world, was striking. I accepted the low available light, slightly off-key sight lines, and lack of precision where we were in the set up. After all, we are post-Dogme now. But Pallières' refusal to give us a sense of life beyond the edges of each frame soon made the film airless, relying too much on Mads Mikkelsens' subtle face to keep us emotionally involved. The other actors seemed happy to convey little with their faces – but I sense he and Bruno Ganz who smuggled in a few twitches of the mouth were struggling. And it implies that the director cast for faces rather than performance qualifications. There were some sequences to enjoy – Michael Kohlhaas' dirty bare feet as he walked about the farm; unrolling the bolt of fabric to reveal the dress for his wife after his successful sale of the horses; and the attack by the rebels on the convoy supposedly taking the Baron away, shot from up high on a hill top and watched with detachment. But in the scene where the mother's body is returned home and the little daughter runs and runs and runs it would normally carry a weight of emotion – fear, suspense, horror – but here it's just a lot of running. The editing is chaotic, the flow fractured, and we never know where we are in the story. If this is the fruit of existentialist detachment give me old-fashioned narrative. In judgement – I think the film long, confused and emotionally neutered – but faithful in intent to the novella. But why should books and films be a pure reflection of the other? Maybe Pallières is saying that anyone who isn't familiar with the novella isn't worth the trouble of an explanation about anyone or anything that happens. If he is holding two fingers up to most of his potential audience it's not much of a career move. And he has certainly queered the pitch for the next enterprising but unknown filmmaker who wants Mads Mikkelsen to come work with him. I look forward to Mads Mikkelsens' THE SALVATION for his own take on man against the powers that be. It will be interesting.
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