"This feverishly intense movie has a tablespoon of 1970s art-porn; the work of Walerian Borowczyk comes to mind" -Guardian UK
"A vivid, lush, fevered sex-and-madness kitchen sink of a semi-supernatural movie" -NewCity Chicago
"[Vincent] Cassel's performance...gives The Monk a smoldering center" -TimeOut Chicago
Based on a Gothic novel from 1796, The Monk chronicles the fall from
innocence of a devout Spanish monk. Vincent Cassel (Read My Lips, Eastern
Promises) is Brother Ambrosio, who was abandoned at birth at the gates of a
Capuchin monastery in Madrid. Earnest beyond measure, Ambrosio has never
committed a transgression, believing that he is immune from temptation. His
sermons draw huge audiences from those seeking his guidance and aid, among
them the lovely young Antonia and her mother Doña Elvire. But dark forces
conspire to test his faith as a masked young novitiate named Valerio, who
conceals his face behind an expressionless mask, arrives at the monastery
seeking to become Ambrosio's disciple. When Valerio finally reveals his true
identity to his superior, Ambrosio embarks upon a diabolical descent into
sin and depravity.
Cassel gives a riveting performance as a man of unmoored
sexuality, who is torn away from all he once held as true. Director Dominik
Moll (With A Friend Like Harry, Lemming) has made a torrid film, set in the
labyrinthine walls of a closed community at the time of the Spanish
Inquisition, which exposes the sinister places where hubris and lust pave
the way for iniquity.
Directed by Dominik Moll, France/Spain, 2011, 101
mins. In French with English subtitles.