96 Min. | Drama – Fantasy – History | February 1957
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Starring: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot
The Seventh Seal Review
In The Seventh Seal, after ten years of futility in the Crusades Antonious Block and Squire Jon return home to be greeted by the plague and Death in its most recognizable human form. He has come for Block and the disparate group he travels with but is held up from this task when Block proposes a game of chess to avoid annihilation. Encountering communal responses to the plague as they travel along Block buys time clumsily attempting to stall the match after unwittingly revealing his game plan.
The Seventh Seal, this cinematic milestone may have lost a touch of its lustre over the years with a number of sharp homage parodies by the likes of Woody Allen and The Pythons but on it’s own it remains a provocative examination of the meaning of life and ultimate fate seen from a variety of viewpoints. The Seventh Seal is a film that begs introspection and while you may not identify with any of the characters it forces one to examine their own fate. Director Ingmar Bergman’s script and imagery are rich in symbolism and his stock company of actors (especially Gunnar Bjornstrand’s profane and cynical Squire Jon) up to the task in conveying their purpose of character. Bergman moves them like pieces in a game of chess but preserves their humanity through his signature close-ups and moments of occasional frivolity.
Over half a century after it and a handful of other exports came to these shores and changed the way Americans looked at film The Seventh Seal today may show some of its age but it still retains the capability of being a very interesting conversation piece. The acting is excellent. This was on of Max von Sydow’s first big roles, and he shows the disillusionment in this character. Gunnar Björnstrand was very good as strong, loyal character who didn’t think about the grander scheme of live. He just continues with live and had a decent heart, but is willing to use violence. Bengt Ekerot had a good sense of menace as Death. The Seventh Seal, an excellent, tort film that is a must see for film fans.
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