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The Monk 2013 R

3.7 out of 5 stars (33) IMDb 5.8/10

Ambrosio's dedication to God has earned him legions of worshippers. But when a mysterious and beautiful woman arrives at the monastery, he is tempted by a lifetime of repressed desire, torn between the path of righteousness and the road to temptation.

Starring:
Vincent Cassel, Déborah François
Runtime:
1 hour, 41 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller, International, Mystery
Director Dominik Moll
Starring Vincent Cassel, Déborah François
Supporting actors Joséphine Japy, Sergi López, Catherine Mouchet, Jordi Dauder, Geraldine Chaplin, Roxane Duran, Frédéric Noaille, Javivi, Martine Vandeville, Pierre-Félix Gravière, Serge Feuillard, Ernst Umhauer, Jean-Francois Vendroux, Juliette Savary, Pascal Loison, Gabriel Ignacio, Jean-Charles Dumay, Ana Pérez Plasencia
Studio Flatiron Film Company
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Matthew G. Lewis wrote this cult classic THE MONK in 1796, and while it was a scandalous work at the time it has survived as a window into the depravity of certain orders of the church. It is particularly timely as a film now, released amidst the scandals of the Catholic Church. Dominick Moll transforms this story in to a film so reminiscent of 16th century Spain in deco and costumes (Maria Clara Notari and Bina Daigeler), music (Alberto Iglesias), and atmospheric cinematography (Patrick Blossier) that the few lapses the story takes form the novel simply do not detract from the visual beauty of this film.

The film opens with an old beggar dropping off an infant on the church steps of a Capuchin monastery in 16th century Spain. The friars raise the child, convinced he is a miracle from the Virgin Mary and at age 18 Ambrosio (Vincent Cassell) takes the vows and becomes a sanctified Capucin monk, but not just a monk but also one blessed with righteousness and distance from temptation. Scores come to the monastery to simply see him and have him hear their confession. His beneficence to a young nun (Roxane Duran) who has become pregnant is cancelled by the abbess of the nunnery (Geraldine Chaplin) and evil begins to shroud the film. A young monk Valerio (Déborah François) is brought to the monastery masked to apparently cover the brutal burn wounds on his face, but in actuality Valerio has healing powers, is able to heal Ambrosio's frequent severe headaches, and finally reveals to Ambrosio that there is a women beneath that mask. From this point the near holy monk Ambrosio falls from grace and descends into seduction, depravity, satanic secrets and murder.

Yes, there are lapses in the story that beg explanation but the atmosphere created by the cinematic team and the performances by Vincent Cassell and the rest of the cast more than make this a fine cinematic achievement. Grady Harp, March 13
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Classic quality- start to finish. Smooth and credible, great character development. Well cast and staged. Tragedies are not as popular as comedies, but substantially more useful.
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Monty Python taught that "nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition," but here is a film suggesting that the Inquisition, when most needed, tends to show up too late.

17th Century Spain. Ambrosio is left, as an infant, on the steps of a Capuchin monastery, where, after a time jump, he has evolved into their most powerful preacher (Vincent Cassel). Villagers, aristocrats and farmers gather from miles around to hear his homilies. He is the most revered man in the region.

Ambrosio listens--with perhaps excessive interest?--to a man's confession of rape and incest. He delivers soul-shaking sermons with shocking brevity, then breaks off abruptly, reminding me somewhat of Peter Finch's Jeremiads in NETWORK. He turns monastic rules upside-down to welcome a masked stranger into their midst, an individual who cannot participate in canonical activities because of the wax mask that hides the professed burns on his face.

The masked stranger, Valerio, has mysterious powers of healing the migraines Ambrosio suffers, assuring him a permanent place in the monastery. The identity of the masked stranger can be found by anyone referring to the IMDb, so I will not supply that spoiler here. Suffice it to say that a tide of latent sexuality swells beneath the calm goings-on of the monastery, and that Ambrosio falls victim to it in a decidedly Lynchian fashion. He quickly shifts from victim to predator, and from orthodoxy to heresy. And, yes. The Spanish Inquisition rolls in at the last minute, but not in time to prevent Valerio from committing the ultimate heresy.
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Format: DVD
The illicit tale presented in the French thriller "The Monk" is a brooding contemplation of faith versus temptation. As a well respected and pious monk, Vincent Cassel (one of my favorites) is the model of decorum and judgmental authority. His religious certainty is a thing of awe among the local populace and within the brotherhood. But this faith is about to be challenged with more secular concerns. This is the emotional centerpiece of a story that shows how no one is immune from human frailty. As the saying goes, "Pride Goeth Before A Fall" and the downfall presented within "The Monk" is dark, stylish, and enthralling. The movie is filled with vibrant (and oftentimes disturbing) imagery and is heightened by a dramatic soundtrack. The plot can be outlandish, it might even be considered a parable. But Cassel takes us beyond where we expect things to go and the bitter ending has stayed with me.

Quite literally, "The Monk" begins on a dark and stormy night. A baby is abandoned on the steps of a monastery who will later develop into Father Ambrosio (Cassel). An upright beacon of propriety, he is a man who will not bend to conventional weaknesses. But those who will not bend just might break. A confluence of events unsettle his daily routine. There is the arrival of a masked figure wishing to join the brotherhood, the disgrace of an impure initiate, and the introduction of a local woman infatuated with the notorious clergyman. As the story progresses, we see how each has a hold on Ambrosio to some extent. The screenplay is painting a bigger picture and Ambrosio seems confined on an ill-fated journey that he has no will to change. Plagued by headaches, visions, and enigmatic dreams, there seems to be an internal battle raging for the Father's soul and his sanity.
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