In 1501, in the Western Europe, in a period when the black plague is jeopardizing the populations, an army of mercenary peasants leaded by Martin (Rutger Hauer) fights side-by-side with the noble Arnolfini (Fernando Hilbeck) to retrieve his castle, with the promise of a huge reward. However, the band is betrayed by Arnolfini, and decides to pay him back, assaulting and stealing a caravan under the command of Arnolfini and his son and student, Steven (Tom Burlinson). In one of the wagon is traveling the fiancée of Steven, Agnes (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is accidentally kidnapped and later raped by the group. Agnes becomes Martin's mate, and the mercenaries decide to invade a castle, without knowing that the army of Arnolfini is chasing them.
"Flesh & Blood" is one of the best movies in the Middle Ages I have ever seen: it is a Machiavellian, violent, amoral and hypnotic adventure, indeed very brutal, with the peasants being poor and ignorant people, with dirty clothes, spoiled teeth, living in dirty and muddy villages. Therefore, a vision totally different from Hollywood movies, with fancy castles and villages with beautiful people. The direction of Paul Verhoven is efficient and perfect as usual, and the entire cast has magnificent and very natural performances, highlighting the amazing Rutger Hauer in the role of Martin, and Jennifer Jason Leigh who has one of her best performances, in the stunning role of a young woman that uses her body to fight for survival in a hostile environment. I have this movie on VHS, but I bought the DVD recently released in Brazil by the distributor Continental, and it was a worthwhile investment, since the widescreen image and the sound are excellent. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Conquista Sangrenta" ("Bloody Conquest")
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