The Monk

Rated R 101 minutes 2013

In 17th-century Madrid, a Capuchin monk (Vincent Cassel), deposited at the monastery's door as an infant and raised within its walls, captivates the faithful with his devout sermons, but his chastity is tested with the arrival of a mysterious young novitiate. This French-Spanish coproduction by Dominik Moll (With a Friend Like Harry) trades in deep questions of faith ("Satan has only the power we give him," the monk tells one penitent), only to stray toward camp with its melodramatic plot developments and overripe religious imagery. (One poor shmo is killed by a falling gargoyle head.) Not bad for a robe-ripper along the lines of The Thorn Birds, but Diary of a Country Priest it ain't. In French with subtitles.

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