The Reckoning

The Reckoning

Paul McGuigan (2001)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Based on Barry Unsworth's novel Morality Play, this medieval murder-mystery play follows a troupe of travelling players that drop their religious repertoire to expose the corruption hiding under the Church's righteous protection. Paul Bettany plays a young priest on the run from an adulterous past who joins a group of itinerant actors, led by Martin (Willem Dafoe). The group wanders into a town where a woman (Elvira Minguez) has been sentenced to death for the murder of a young boy. Martin's company then determines to tell the story of the killing in the form of a production for the local townsfolk. Director Paul McGuigan maintains a mood as dark as the overcast sky and the plague-ridden times, but lapses into theatricality for the finale. But, although it could never match the doomsday atmosphere of Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, it does successfully reflect the primitive, spiritual passion of a time when God was an avenger, not a redeemer.


A young priest joins a group of travelling actors in an attempt to escape from his adulterous past. When the wandering troupe pass through a town where a woman has been sentenced to death for murdering a young boy, they are inspired to perform a re-enactment of the crime for the local people. However, their play leads them to uncover a disturbing conspiracy. Medieval murder mystery, starring Paul Bettany and Willem Dafoe.

Cast & Crew

Martin Willem Dafoe
Nicholas Paul Bettany
Sarah Gina McKee
Tobias Brian Cox (1)
Simon Damian Ewen Bremner
Robert de Guise Vincent Cassel
Stephen Simon McBurney
Straw Tom Hardy
Martha Elvira Minguez
Director Paul McGuigan
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: EntertainmentGuidance: Contains violence and sex scenes.Available on: video and DVDReleased on: 4 Jun 2004