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Monk, The (15)

Monk, The (15)


Madrid, in the seventeenth century. Abandoned at the doorstep of a monastery, Ambrosio has been brought up by the Capucin Friars. After becoming a friar himself, he becomes an unrivaled preacher whose sermons draw crowds and earn him the admiration of all. Admired for his extreme rigor and absolute virtue, Ambrosio is certain he is safe from any temptation. But Satan has not said his final word...

The critical consensus

Director Dominik Moll makes some odd style choices – like Looney Tunes-style ‘iris wipes’ – and it’s a while before Cassel fully embraces his dark side, yet his customary charisma is what seals The Monk’s redemption.

***(*)(*)Matt Glasby, Total Film, 18/04/2012

Ambrosio’s curiously inert fall from grace generates neither sympathy nor suspense.

***(*)(*)Miles Fielder, The List, 17/04/2012

If you were hoping for a return to form for director Dominik Moll, your prayer has not been answered.

**(*)(*)(*)Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman, 22/04/2012

An austere, cerebral reading of a book which is unfettered, blood-bolstered and wildly sensationalist — Lewis is the father of torture porn, not a master of subtle chills. It’s interesting and unsettling, with a charismatic lead performance, but nowhere near as shocking as it should be.

***(*)(*)Kim Newman, Empire Online, 22/04/2012

An overwrought atmosphere, some nice aesthetic nods to classic horror cinema and the ever-watchable, if oddly subdued, Cassel aside, there’s little to dispel thoughts of this as a missed opportunity.

**(*)(*)(*)Chris Fyvie, The Skinny, 24/04/2012

Moll’s film fails to compensate with a commensurate level of tension or even atmosphere.

**(*)(*)(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 26/04/2012

It’s a dull B-movie with ideas above its station.

**(*)(*)(*)Henry Fitzherbert, Daily Express, 25/04/2012

Moll's adaptation of Matthew Gregory Lewis's 18th-century novel is operatic in style and towering in ambition.

****(*)Alison Rowat, The Herald, 26/04/2012

What a very strange film this is, so controlled and precise yet utterly outlandish in its conjuring of evil. Dan Brown should take a look, and ponder.

***(*)(*)Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 27/04/2012

It is not a story of great depth or passion, but there are intriguing and unsettling moments on its well-crafted surface.

***(*)(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 26/04/2012

The surface chills, but what’s under merely underwhelms: like Moll’s whole stab at this fable of carnal knowledge, it needed more fleshing out.

***(*)(*)Tim Robey, The Telegraph, 27/04/2012

The kind of film that works its magic after you leave the cinema.

Paul Bradshaw, Little White Lies, 26/04/2012

Vincent Cassel, looking like a priest out of a Zurbarán painting, is a formidable presence, and the picture is atmospherically lit by Patrick Blossier, but it's a rather dull offering – tasteful horror for the carriage trade.

Philip French, The Observer, 29/04/2012

The underlying theme of retribution is clearly demonstrated, but frustratingly, the amorous additions and a bland substitution for the ideological speculations smother the film in clichéd outcomes.

***(*)(*)Callum Madge, TV Bomb, 01/05/2012

Features about Monk, The (15)

Brother's gonna work it out

Dominik Moll, The Herald, 19/04/2012

The Monk director Dominik Moll--interview

Paul Gallagher, The List, 26/04/2012

The Monk: interview with director Dominik Moll

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph, 28/04/2012

Where and when?

Edinburgh Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Friday April 27, 2012, until Thursday May 10, 2012. More info:

General release. Check local listings for show times.

Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow from Friday May 4, 2012, until Thursday May 10, 2012. More info:

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