The Reckoning (CIFF 2020)

Set against the backdrop of The Plague (how appropriate for 2020), The Reckoning is a film about a witch hunt—an actual one. It follows a woman, Grace (Charlotte Kirk, also credited as a writer), whose husband dies because of the sickness. She can’t pay rent, she refuses to give into her landlord’s lustrous desires, so he organizes a witch hunt against her as revenge. What happens from there is a lot of torture and not a lot of fun, as The Reckoning is not supposed to be especially enjoyable for most of its running time.

Most of the twists and turns won’t surprise you—the film follows a relatively safe story formula—and by the midpoint you’ll likely find yourself tired of its repetitive nature. Maybe that’s the point, putting us even more in Grace’s shoes by forcing us to watch the seemingly unending torture. In theory it makes the third act feel more cathartic but I was mostly done by that point. Maybe if there was more to Grace as a character or if it’d been trimmed down a touch it would have been more effective from a narrative perspective.

If nothing else, the parallels one can draw from the era depicted in current year are interesting to contemplate, even if that may be reading in more than was implied. Kirk is strong as the lead, and The Reckoning does a good job of putting us in its world. It’s just missing some of the narrative drive to keep us engaged, or perhaps it just has too many repetitive scenes of torture. It’s not bad, but it is lacking.

Conclusion: The Reckoning is missing the narrative draw to keep us engaged during its repetitive torture.

Recommendation: If you like period horror pieces, The Reckoning might satisfy, but temper expectations.

  • 5/10
    Rating - 5/10

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