Here’s another movie I snagged from Belle & Blade video while at NYCC last month. The Sovereign’s Servant is a Russian military adventure/period film that revolves around the Great Northern War between Russia and Sweden.
After a duel over women, cards, and insults between the Chevalier de Bresse and the Comte de la Bush, the King of France, Louis XIV, exiles the two duelists from France. The Chevalier is to bring two correspondence to the Tsar of Russia, Peter the Great, while Comte is to go to the King of Sweden (subtitles called him Khal) with similar missives. But in the countryside of Prussia Black Rider terrorizes Russian couriers and soldiers. Soon the Chevalier de Bresse finds himself fighting for his life alongside a Russian soldier as they try to make their way back to the Russian army. There both the Chevalier and the Comte witness — and take part in — the Battle of Poltvana, before recommencing their duel from before.
The Sovereign’s Servant reminds me heavily of Brotherhood of the Wolf, a French adventure movie from roughly the same era, with a mix of historical events and “supernatural” overtones with this Black Rider. The Chevalier also dawns the leather overcoat made popular by Brotherhood of the Wolf, and there are a few cinematography shots that reminded me of the movie, too. I say this as a compliment as Brotherhood of the Wolf is one of my favorite movies, and if you’re going to homage a film, that’s a good one to start with. Outside of those homages, The Sovereign’s Servant stands out on it’s own as a great film. It’s a really fun adventure movie with beautifully crafted smallsword duels, and nicely portrayed 18th Century war techniques. This movie blew me away in terms of it’s production quality, storytelling, action sequences, and cinematography. I loved it so much that I watched it twice in the same day.
Highly recommended to folks who enjoy period action-adventure movies, especially those set in Eastern Europe and during the Sun-King’s era.