Pilgrimage Review
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Earlier this year, Tom Holland donned a super suit for his first starring role in a massive Marvel blockbuster, Spider-Man: Homecoming. But he goes on a much deeper, darker journey as a young monk on an important mission in the medieval drama Pilgrimage.

Pilgrimage takes place in 13th century Ireland, where a sacred relic is guarded by a group of monks. When Brother Geraldus (Stanley Weber) arrives at the monastery with orders to bring the relic to Rome, a group of the monks (including Holland’s Brother Diarmuid) and a mute lay-brother (Jon Bernthal) set out across the war-torn country to aid in the journey and guard the relic, facing all kinds of dangers along the way. And it soon becomes clear that there’s more to the relic than just its religious significance.

With its historical and religious details and its epic adventures, Pilgrimage is a dark and often violent drama, taking audiences on a journey through the battles, the treaties, and the perils of the Middle Ages. The setting is striking but bleak. The battles are fierce and often graphic (though sometimes rather awkwardly choreographed). And while most of the characters don’t get the development that they deserve, the performances are strong.

On the surface, the story is pretty simple—just a group of travelers attempting to cross through dangerous lands. But there’s much more beneath the surface—and that part of the story is rather hard to follow. It uses a number of different languages—and while that’s completely understandable given the setting, it also means that, in order to get the full picture, viewers must read the subtitles while differentiating the languages, to determine how the characters can (or cannot) communicate with one another. There are so many layers here—so many alliances and motives—that it’s not hard to get lost.

For the most part, it feels like a solid outline of a gripping adventure. The mystery involving the mute, while intriguing, doesn’t play out in a way that’s especially satisfying. Most of the characters generally feel like little more than sketches. And, in the end, while you may feel like you’ve been through a battle—you might not know what it all means.

Pilgrimage is certainly a grand, historical drama—complete with knights and monks and warring natives. But it isn’t the kind of captivating, meaningful journey that will stay with you long after it comes to an end.

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