In armour and animals skins the masked soldier walks under grey skies and rain, through valley and river, across mossy rocks and to the jagged foot of the mountains, bleeding from his wounded leg as surely as the burden he carries bleeds also, the prize he has claimed, a still-beating heart torn from the body and wrapped in the leather pouch he bears.
Pursued by three others, there in the mountains among the steaming vents and scalding volcanic springs the soldier finds the Rock of Ages, surly and disinclined to company, particularly his; regardless, the Rock questions him on his past and his current quest, drawing from his damaged memory what he has done and that he seeks immortality.
Shot in the vast, desolate isolation of Iceland, The Rock of Ages is an absurd fantasy of ambition and avarice written and directed by Errors of the Human Body’s Eron Sheean, starring Blade Runner 2049’s Tómas Lemarquis as the amnesiac soldier who has blotted out the traumatic events which have brought him to this point.
As old as the mountains, the slippery Rock is voiced by The Last Witch Hunter’s Ólafur Darri Ólafsson and operated by puppeteer Izabela Claudia Mos, it and its brethren as lively and manic but considerably less amenable than any of the similarly manipulated inanimate objects of The Muppet Show or The Dark Crystal.
With eyes and ears everywhere, the Rock is possessed of intelligence, perception and personality, able to see into the mind of the soldier who is a poor match for its ancient wisdom, battle weary and bloodied, obsessed with his quest which the Rock tells him can be accomplished in the smoking crater of the volcano.
Partially crowdfunded, the stunning locations captured by director of photography Tómas Örn Tómasson add huge production value to The Rock of Ages, atmospheric and eerie, a place of death and despair brought imaginatively to life in a battle of wits in which the man with the sword is unarmed, the counsel of the rocks not to be taken lightly as the mountains echo with their laughter.
The Rock of Ages is currently playing the festival circuit