With the Edict of Milan in 313, which guaranteed the freedom of religion across the Roman Empire, Christianity spread north and west across Europe. Indeed, it tended to mirror the progress of the Romans and meet with the same difficulties. War and strife were endemic across Europe. Ireland, perched on the edge of the empire, was notoriously a difficult, hostile and dangerous land. Set in 1209, Brendan Muldowney’s new film Pilgrimage depicts the religious turmoil, superstition and hardship of the Emerald Isle.
Brother Geraldus (Stanley Weber) arrives in western Ireland on an urgent mission from Rome to return with a monastery’s holiest relic. He’s accompanied east by a young devout novice (Tom Holland) and his mute lay-brother (Jon Bernthal). After they’re ambushed, the trio must attempt to make their way to the coast, protecting their charge in a climate of religious turmoil, local wars and inhospitable lands.
I’m absolutely thrilled that there are films like Pilgrimage being made. Whilst the language and subtitles will put some people off, they only add to the atmosphere of danger and intrigue. It’s a voyage, not only in terms of a physical journey, but also of faith. There’s an impressive ensemble cast, with plots, internecine wars and double-crossing aplenty. Pilgrimage is one of the best Irish film of the decade.
Pilgrimage is released on Blu-ray , DVD and Digital Download by Studiocanal on Monday 3 July.