The Countess

2009

Biography / Drama / History / Horror / Thriller

9
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 7060

Synopsis


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June 19, 2018 at 05:49 PM

Director

Cast

Daniel Brühl as Istvan Thurzo
William Hurt as Gyorgy Thurzo
Julie Delpy as Erzebet Bathory
Anamaria Marinca as Darvulia
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
853.53 MB
1280*544
English
NR
24 fps
1hr 34 min
P/S 5 / 27
1.6 GB
1920*816
English
NR
24 fps
1hr 34 min
P/S 2 / 17

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jshoaf 8 / 10

Rashomon in Transylvania

Well, actually, in the Little Carpathians, apparently, which are not part of Transylvania, or so Wikipedia tells me.

I really enjoyed this film (at home on pay-per-view)though I think it is intended for a pretty narrow audience. As others have noted, the dialogue is amazingly stilted (very literary, rather like a French novel of the 17th or 18th century) and delivered in near-monotone. I kept feeling that the whole movie had been dubbed into English. On the other hand, I found the acting very fine, and I admired the insistence on presenting these characters as not at all like you, me, or the folks in the latest TV drama. The Countess in particular is a strange, unique portrait--her piety, her desire for amorous adventure, her pride, her intelligence. And that's before you get to the blood-of-virgins part.

The film proposes that what we are seeing before our eyes is not the truth about the Countess. We are watching a fantasy of a noblewoman enacting a tale "told by the victors"--by the men who were enriched by her downfall and relieved, too, to be rid of the very possibility of an intelligent woman. The tale is told, too, by the peasants and others whose sons are fighting in her army. Yet the man who questions the gory story is her lover, and he too may be deceived. There is no simple answer to the question, what really happened?--no resolution.

In short, it's an intellectual (and visual) treat, but it won't affect your blood sugar.

Reviewed by rnl-otto 8 / 10

I saw it like this....

I did not regard "The countess" as a historical or a horror movie. I rather saw it as a portrait of a woman. I think the movie wants to show the very destructive effect falling in love can have when a person is very insecure and does not have the ability to reflect its own behavior. In some way that connects to "2 days in Paris" which also dealt with the difficulties of love. The movie also had a feminist side to me: on the one hand it deals with the obsession of beauty (a kind of female issue, also an issue that matters especially to actresses). The countess crosses ethic limits to gain or keep beauty and youth - maybe an analogy to plastic surgery. The murderers committed by the countess are also compared to war: is it better to kill for power than for beauty? A political view is that the countess is not mainly sued because she has committed crimes but because her power is so huge that many people are happy to get rid of her (which is how politic still sometimes works nowadays). Regarding these facets the countess is a parable to human behavior today. It does not want to be a historical movie. I still can see that especially Hungarians are annoyed when they see (and hear)non-Hungarian actors in this movie speaking English (even though the actors are not English) and saying Hungarian names in a non-Hungarian way. As i said before it is not a historical movie and the setting should just be regarded as a frame. I also remember reading an interview with Julie Delpy quite some years ago where she complains about not getting any roles in the US because her accent is "too french". I think mixing actors from different countries she wants to show (or find out) that (or if) a movie can work even though there is an international cast. Regarding the countess as a parable i think that can work. But as my boyfriend does not like watching movies in English we watched the dubbed German version and i really don't know if the accents would have bothered me... Anyways i can see the movie does not really fit a genre so i understand people have troubles with it. I prefer not to think in genres and categories too much - if you do so too I think you will be able to enjoy this movie.

Reviewed by Cruiz Dwyer 5 / 10

Ambling on ...

In the 17th Century, the Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Julie Delpy) and her husband, General Ferenc Nadasdy (Jack Berglund), are regarded as one of the most powerful couples in Hungary. Soon after Nadasdy's death, Elizabeth begins a passionate relationship with Istvan Thurzo (Daniel Bruhl), who is nearly 20 years her junior. When Istvan leaves her, she believes it is because of her age. This ultimately leads to her believing that the blood of virgin girls can help her remain youthful, and Elizabeth starts a mysterious killing spree to satisfy her vanity.

The issue surrounding Elizabeth Bathory makes for an interesting narrative in the cinematic format. The story is told in a rather linear fashion, beginning with Elizabeth as a child and how politics deemed who she should marry in her older age. Politics is perhaps the best dealt with theme in the film: while not shown in a refreshing manner, politics still has an overriding importance into understanding how arranged marriages were so important for families in regards to gaining new ties and allies and, more importantly, how these marriages ultimately develop characters in order to enrich the story. Yet it is disappointing that nothing helps strengthen the plot: the life of Elizabeth Bathory is open to much speculation with there being a debate as to whether she really is the 'Blood Countess' or whether she was trapped in a political conspiracy. But none of this is even questioned until the very end of the story, but by then it is so incredibly obvious that the filmmakers have wanted to portray Elizabeth as a cold-hearted murderer, that the alternate paradigm briefly introduced serves little purpose. Another problem with the narrative is how the film's underlying philosophy, as emphasized by a voice over from Istvan at the very start of the film, is in conflict with the film's main story. Istvan believes that the true story of Elizabeth was never revealed but as shown from the films intention, it clearly is.

There is a reasonably strong cast in the film but it never shows. Both Delpy and Bruhl lack emotion and their portrayed relationship is not any better. In Delpy's defence it can be argued that her character lacked any real emotion but nevertheless, there is nothing really compelling about the performance. William Hurt features at points throughout the film but he rarely makes much of an impact. The best of the lot is Annamaria Marcina who feels more believable then her co-stars, and does a good job as a supporting actress.

Julie Delpy does shine in her role as director with the film being, for the most part, eloquently shot. There are some interesting scenes of symbolism with the heightened ominous atmosphere of the film starting off early and is carried along until the end. Considering the subject matter, the film is neither as gory or bloody as you would expect, but the acts of cruelness still have a haunting presence to them, and Delpy must be congratulated for this. Likewise the musical score appears to compliment the film though is forgettable by the end, and the costume design has a real sense of reality to them though they lack extravagance as shown in other similar period films.

Sex is implied with upper female nudity appearing at times in the first half of the narrative. Language is almost unheard of but violence is shown in various manners: there is some decapitation, and piercing of skin from sharp items. None of the violence is lingered upon but their buildup has a threatening quality to them; blood does appear throughout.

The Countess is a surprisingly average film with a good sense of technical techniques being weighed down by some weak showcases of acting and a confused directional narrative. The beginning attempts to setup the film as a mystery thriller, something to get audiences debating the accuracy of events, but ultimately the film is so conclusive with what it wants audiences to believe that the film gets muddled up in its own creative process. It is an interesting movie with an exciting subject at its helm, but it is nonetheless a flawed film that just never gets going.

-(Durban International Film Festival 2009)

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