The Reckoning (2004)


Critic Consensus: A talky, ponderous movie.


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Movie Info

Scottish filmmaker Paul McGuigan directs The Reckoning, based on the award-winning novel Morality Play by Barry Unsworth. Set in 14th century England, the story involves a priest named Nicholas (Paul Bettany) who leaves the church after committing adultery. He falls in with a troupe of traveling actors led by Martin (Willem Dafoe). Nicholas joins them and attracts the attention of Martin's sister Sarah (Gina McKee). The group ends up in a small town where a mute woman (Elvira Minguez) is accused of witchcraft and murder. Drawn to the woman, Martin suggests that the troupe re-create the events in hopes of drawing a crowd and solving the crime. Also starring Brian Cox, Ewen Bremner, and Vincent Cassel. The Reckoning premiered at the Palm Springs Film Festival in 2004.

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Critic Reviews for The Reckoning

All Critics (89) | Top Critics (31)

After a first hour slowed by exposition and a good deal of extraneous subplot development, the story catches fire in the second hour and keeps you engrossed.

Apr 1, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/5

It's not Shakespeare in Love, and it really has no third act, but there's wonder in the scenes of theatrical invention, of theater being made up on the spot, a play in the making.

Mar 26, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

A thoughtful, clever and well-acted diversion.

Mar 26, 2004 | Rating: 3/4

An ambitious, energetic and wholly satisfying movie about the dawn of dramatic and personal freedom and much more.

Mar 25, 2004 | Rating: B+
Detroit News
Top Critic

Celebrates the craft of acting both in its story and in fine performances by Paul Bettany, Willem Dafoe and Brian Cox.

Mar 19, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Once the actors set up shop, and Nicholas gets obsessively involved in proving Martha's innocence, melodrama and ponderousness encroach.

Mar 19, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Reckoning

Well, I have most definitely become a Paul Bettany fan. This movie was really good, and of course he was outstanding in it. The rest of the cast did a great job, also, but I think that he really made this film work. Great storyline, and great camera work.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Turgid and uninsipired.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


A very compelling and entertaing epic mystery. Well-written and very well-performed by it's cast. A dark, riveting and thrilling film. Willem Dafoe and Paul Bettany are extroadinary.

Al S
Al S

Super Reviewer


Starts a little slow but you get captured up in this. I enoyed it, If you like British Film, then you will enjoy this one. For some a rental, other will find it a must for a well Rounded DVD collection.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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