Saturday, June 25, 2016
But those two pale in comparison to what Ken Russell had to offer with The Devils. All these years later, the controversy surrounding it hasn't faded. Beneath all of it, however, Russell provides a thoroughly captivating story.
In a way, The Devils is a more graphic take on The Crucible. (The Devils, by the way, is based on works by Aldous Huxley and John Whiting.) After all, it involves a supposedly upstanding citizen being accused of witchcraft. (Though Arthur Miller probably wouldn't have such details in as lurid a perspective as Russell displayed.)
Speaking of details, the production design of The Devils is a dazzling one. (Being designed by Derek Jarman certainly helps.) With this being a film as bleak as it is, what Jarman puts in adds something of a breather.
Despite the controversy that overshadows it, The Devils is a complex work to say the least. Had Russell made this film in a more flattering light, it probably would've escaped controversy. But had he cleaned up its content, it more than likely would've been tossed aside as another religious picture. (Apparently controversy's a good thing if you're Ken Russell.)
My Rating: ****1/2