Donald Donahue III’s review published on Letterboxd:
This movie is as much about the sobering reminder that there is no escape from death as much as it is a paean to the sanctity of life.
Last night my wife broke into tears. I asked her what was wrong. She was crying because of the thought of one us parting from the other. Death is inescapable and at times uncertain. And when you remember that, just the thought hits you like a ton of bricks, sucking the air out of you. Whenever I feel like what poet, Jared Singer, calls "Failure with a mouth", I look at my wife and can't imagine life without her. She reminds me life is something to celebrate regardless of its unpredictability and uncertainty.
In the movie, a preacher arrogantly pontificates with vitriol on how the pandemic, The Black Death, is God's punishment upon the people, not unlike how most televangelists weaponize their faith to blame calamity on those not affiliated with their own agenda. Jof, one of the actors, has spiritual visions that he can't quite explain, but allows them to lead him with hope. It is art that sometimes shows us the greater truths we can't always see.
This film is simple and humble in its presentation, but layered with intricacies and complexities about life, death, religion, art, and the human nature. Though life has its uncertainties and its complications, there are also the simple things to take our eyes away from looking for the dreariness and the worries that try to steal our attention. Sometimes something simple like a bowl of wild strawberries for the knight, Atonious Block played by Max Von Sydow, or in my case putting together my morning cup of coffee with my wife, that remind us despite there being death, there is life to celebrate. This film reminded me to be sobered by death, while remembering to take time to be drunk on life.