The Reckoning

Critics Consensus

A talky, ponderous movie.



Total Count: 89


Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,744
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Movie Info

Scottish filmmaker Paul McGuigan directs The Reckoning, based on the award-winning novel Morality Play by Barry Unsworth. Set in 14th century England, the story involves a priest named Nicholas (Paul Bettany) who leaves the church after committing adultery. He falls in with a troupe of traveling actors led by Martin (Willem Dafoe). Nicholas joins them and attracts the attention of Martin's sister Sarah (Gina McKee). The group ends up in a small town where a mute woman (Elvira Minguez) is accused of witchcraft and murder. Drawn to the woman, Martin suggests that the troupe re-create the events in hopes of drawing a crowd and solving the crime. Also starring Brian Cox, Ewen Bremner, and Vincent Cassel. The Reckoning premiered at the Palm Springs Film Festival in 2004.


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Critic Reviews for The Reckoning

All Critics (89) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (54)

  • As for young master Bettany, his Nicholas never managed to convince at all. His priest was insufficiently Godfearing, his adulterer not lusty enough, his actor too facile, and his detective too forensic.

    Jan 8, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Although raising intriguing questions about the moral obligation dramatists have to throw a spotlight on taboo subjects, The Reckoning offers simplistic solutions.

    Jun 8, 2004 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Wraps itself around Bettany's guilty secrets like a hot-water bottle, leaving more interesting characters in the moral cold

    Jun 2, 2004 | Full Review…
  • After a first hour slowed by exposition and a good deal of extraneous subplot development, the story catches fire in the second hour and keeps you engrossed.

    Apr 1, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • It's not Shakespeare in Love, and it really has no third act, but there's wonder in the scenes of theatrical invention, of theater being made up on the spot, a play in the making.

    Mar 26, 2004 | Rating: 4/5
  • A thoughtful, clever and well-acted diversion.

    Mar 26, 2004 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for The Reckoning

  • Nov 23, 2011
    This turned out to be a pretty decent murder mystery, set in 14th century England with a priest on the run as the sleuth. A solid cast, with Willem Dafoe, Paul Bettany, and Brian Cox the most recognizable names, carried off their parts well. Dreary scenery, but this is the middle ages, so what is there to expect? The story is pretty straight forward and there are few surprises, but it was nice to watch it unfold.
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2010
    Well, I have most definitely become a Paul Bettany fan. This movie was really good, and of course he was outstanding in it. The rest of the cast did a great job, also, but I think that he really made this film work. Great storyline, and great camera work.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 17, 2010
    <b>"What are you really running from? I see it in you, not the woman...some darker secret."</b> During the 1300's in England, a disgraced priest (Paul Bettany) flees his church and joins a traveling troupe of actors. They are set to perform in a village where a boy has recently been murdered. In search of the truth, the troupe acts out a performance of the alleged crime. A unique and exceptional murder mystery with stellar performances by Paul Bettany and Willem Dafoe. <b>"Theirs is the silence of consent."</b><br>
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2008
    Turgid and uninsipired.
    jay n Super Reviewer

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