Pilgrimage is a good movie that could have been great if there was bigger budget. But at the same time, there is no big audience out there for a film like this so it’s difficult to blame the investors for keeping things small and place their bets instead on the talents of the crew in front and behind the camera – and it does pay off.
The film revolves around a group of monks in the early 1200s on a mission across Ireland to deliver an ancient relic to the church in Rome. They encounter a group of Normans who decide to join them in their quest to safely cross the dangerous lands, but with some hidden motives. The film’s cast is very solid with very decent turns by Tom Holland (our new Spider-Man), Jon Bernthal (Netflix’s The Punisher), and Richard Armitage (The Hobbit). Bernthal steals the show as the mute and he will be noticed for even bigger and more serious roles after his performance here.
It is very admirable what the film crew were able to achieve here with such a small budget. The atmosphere is bleak and effective, the action is gory and realistic, and the score is haunting and memorable. The cinematography is also a pleasant surprise here as the team behind the camera, led by Tom Comerford, uses the low and chilly landscapes to the film’s advantage. Director Brendan Muldowney takes his time to establish the characters and slowly builds up the stakes and the atmosphere until all the motives are unleashed.
Even though the positive points are aplenty, the small budget still makes the whole experience feels incomplete – the film definitely had more potential. The director did his part and then some, but he did not focus on the pace of the film as much as he did on the atmospherics so this film is not for everyone, especially not for the non-patient Zack Snyder or Michael Bay film goers.
Pilgrimage is a little medieval adventure that relies on talent and requires some patience, but if you decide to give it a chance, you might end up liking and admiring the skills in front and behind the camera.