The Empty Man is the nineteenth installment in The Lord of the Rings series. Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth to depict the saga as he did in the films. Although this film does not match the highs and lows of the previous movies, it is a worthy follow-up and has its moments. If you are a fan of the trilogy, this may be a pleasant surprise. Otherwise, there is probably something wrong with you.
The movie begins in the Ring of Fire where Borain and his people are ambushed by the Dolorous Maid. As the soldiers try to kill her, she calls upon the assistance of three elves, Faramir, Celeborn and Gnusel. The elves manage to drive the men off and enter the fortress of Minas Tirith. From there they find that the wizards have transformed into Orcs and begin to attack the people of Minas Tirith.
When the elves and the Manes of the West are cornered, a mysterious stranger appears from the fire of Mount Doom and reveals that he is none other than Sauron, the king of Gondor. He then joins the forces of the Manes and fights Borain while trying to kill the remaining elves. Eventually the Manes manage to draw their weapon and force the evil king to make a choice, to either join their forces or die trying.
The movie culminates with the death of Sauron at the hands of the Manes. It is at this point that Celeborn rises and turns to be the new Lord of the Rings character, The Empty Man. The symbolism of the montage involving the hands of the wraith reaching out for "the ring" and reaching for his heart is powerful enough to fill me with hope that some day we will see an entire trilogy made from the film. One thing that does stand out in The Empty Man is the manner in which the director positions the camera when showing scenes from the beginning and the end of the movie.
For someone who dislikes long films, this one certainly has a long haul. It's a slow-moving film filled with somber moods interspersed with action. One of the greatest things about this film is its villain, Sauron. Although he is a disgusting and downright evil character, he is presented as such by the true essence of the film - his voice.
Michael Cuesta is an expert at creating evil characters believable. His skills as a director are on full display in The Empty Man. The visual elements are simple yet effective and the overall effect is very dreamlike. Overall, this movie is well worth the time and effort put into it. I recommend giving The Empty Man a viewing after you have had the chance to experience The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.