An Overlooked Jeff Bridges Fantasy Movie Is Streaming On Netflix
Jeff Bridges starred in the sadly overlooked 2014 fantasy action film Seventh Son and we're here to take a second look.
He won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Crazy Heart, and he’s been nominated seven times; most recently for Best Supporting Actor for the absolutely unimpeachable modern western Hell or High Water. Jeff Bridges has one of those names that seems to go hand-in-hand with “critically acclaimed,” but only because our relatively short collective memory. For example he ended the 2000s with great flicks like Crazy Heart and the True Grit remake, and by the mid-2010s he was landing more great roles like his part in Hell or High Water. But in between there was a series of critically panned bombs like the blatant Men in Black rip-off R.I.P.D., the dystopian drama The Giver, and the fantasy adventure flick that’s streaming right now on Netflix: 2014’s Seventh Son.
Loosely based on the 2004 novel The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by English author Joseph Delaney, Seventh Son was helmed by the Russian director Sergei Bodrov (Prisoner of the Mountains) from a story by Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond), Steven Knight (Locke), and Matt Greenberg (Pet Sematary). Jeff Bridges plays the ruthless witch hunter Master Gregory, who kind of looks like what would happen if True Grit‘s Rooster Cogburn had a child with Gandalf. When he learns that a powerful witch he imprisoned years before has managed to free herself and restored herself to power, Gregory recruits the clairvoyant Tom (Ben Barnes), the seventh son of a seventh son, as his new apprentice to help him hunt down the witch and end her. Hardened by years of violence, betrayal, and loss, Gregory is convinced he must purge his new apprentice of all the mercy he feels for their targets, but Tom is having none of it. In fact when he falls in love with Alice (Alicia Vikander), who turns out to be the daughter of one of their targets, Tom keeps her secret.
We eventually learn Tom has more in common with Gregory than he realizes. Their prey, the murderous Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), was the love of Gregory’s life which is why he chose to imprison her rather than kill her when he learned her true nature. It’s that betrayal that taught Jeff Bridges’ character to show no kindness to his foes, no matter the situation. Before the end of Seventh Son, both Tom’s compassion and Gregory’s mercilessness create almost too many complications for them to survive.
For anyone even considering the notion of joining the business of making movies, Seventh Son teaches a desperately important lesson — if you think an amazing cast and a six-figure budget is all you need for a hit, you’re not done thinking and you need to try harder. The cast of Seventh Son reads like a table or two at the Oscars. Along with Jeff Bridges there’s Ben Barnes (The Punisher) as Tom, Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights) as the villain Malkin, Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) as Tom’s lover Alice, Antje Traue (Man of Steel) as Malkin’s ally Bony Lizzie, Olivia Williams (Rushmore) as Tom’s mother Mam Ward, Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones) as Gregory’s first apprentice William, Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator) as Malkin’s servant Radu, and Jason Scott Lee (Mulan) as the werebear Urag. The film enjoyed a budget of close to $100 million. In spite of all the star power, money, and a market that’s been hungry for genre fare for years, Seventh Son proved to be a critical and commercial disaster.
Seventh Son didn’t even earn one-fifth of its budget back until it went overseas, pulling in $17.2 million domestically. Its worldwide gross landed at $114.2 million, which — considering all the costs beyond the production budget, like the marketing budget to name just one — wasn’t enough for a profit. The fantasy film wound up being one of the most critically hated films of Jeff Bridges’ entire career, with its Rotten Tomatoes score landing at a horrifying 12% (and the audience score not much better at 34%). In fact, the Tomatometer score puts it in a tie with R.I.P.D. for Bridges’ second lowest rated flick on the site. Not counting films that don’t have enough reviews to aggregate a score, the only worse-reviewed Bridges flick is the 1986 crime drama 8 Million Ways to Die, with an almost darkly impressive 0%. But if you want to throw caution to the wind and check it out, Seventh Son is currently streaming on Netflix.