"Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas" -- the latest adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist's 1811 novella -- starts as a tale of Robin Hood-style righteous anger and grimly, beautifully spins into something far more complicated.
A stubborn 16th-century horse-breeder (Mads Mikkelsen) takes a principled stand in a legal dispute against a young baron over the mistreatment of two horses. That dispute slowly escalates into violence, a full-blown peasant revolt and some pointed ethical questions.
Director/co-writer Arnaud de Pallières embraces odd storytelling rhythms, jumping past the expected period-revolution story beats and lingering on others. Combined with strong performances, the gorgeously overwhelming environment (the sounds of wind and flies are practically supporting characters), and at least one agonizingly long close-up, "Age of Uprising" unsettles as it raises troubling questions about the price, morality and flexibility of a "principled stand."
(France; 122 min.) Grade: B-plus. Showtimes:
- 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, Cinema 21
- 8:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, Cinemagic