Brimstone Dakota Fanning as Liz

Retribution is coming.

There’s more than a whiff of sulphur about Brimstone, a grimly brutal Western that stars Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce as unyielding antagonists locked in a ferocious struggle between good and evil. The movie’s unflinching violence will be off-putting to some, as will its epic length, but viewers with strong constitutions will find this a gripping watch.

Fanning is the very definition of quiet resilience as the story’s heroine, a mute midwife living in a frontier town with her pioneer husband, daughter and stepson. And Pearce is evil incarnate as the (yes) fire-and-brimstone preacher whose arrival in town causes her alarm and anguish. What is the reason for the bristling animosity between them?

Dutch writer-director Martin Koolhoven unfolds the answer in a roundabout way, telling his story in four chapters with Biblical –sounding titles (‘Revelation’, ‘Exodus’, ‘Genesis’ and ‘Retribution’) and a tricky reverse narrative that gradually reveals a shocking history of religious hypocrisy and sadistic misogyny.

Certificate 18. Runtime 149 mins. Director Martin Koolhoven

Available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Thunderbird Releasing.