Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Monk ★★★☆☆

Gothic literature and cinema has often failed to enjoy the same glowing relationship that they did during the silent era, with sinister source material too often used to create a camp horror sub-category that lacks the dark, foreboding atmosphere of such films as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and Vampyr (1932). Dominik Moll's medieval thriller The Monk (2011), a French adaptation of a Matthew Lewis novel, looks set to help reinvent this ailing genre.

On a stormy night in rural Spain a crying baby is abandoned at the gates of a monastery. The baby is adopted and brought up by the monks who inhabit this isolated commune. He grows up to become the orders most powerful and pious preacher - Brother Ambrosio (Vincent Cassel). His sermons are famous throughout the parish, with the locals receiving him with a mixture of respect and fear. However when Valerio - a young disfigured character who wears a mask to hide their burnt face - arrives at the monastery a series of devastating incidents begin to unravel which puts Ambrosio's spirituality to the test.


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