The Monk - 2011 - 7/10
AKA - Le Moine
French film, set in 17th century Madrid.
Foundling abandoned outside monastery is taken in by monks, subsequently raised as one of their own.
In time, the orphan (Vincent Cassel) grows into the monastery’s rock star.
Devoted followers from near and far pack the chapel to listen to his sermons, give confession.
Enter the serpent, a new acolyte, clad in an expressive leather mask to conceal the ravages of disease.
Visuals are ravishing, with several remarkable set pieces.
Performances are subdued, troubled, including Déborah François in a supporting role.
An ominous undercurrent builds throughout, but there is nothing in the way of explosive action.
Story is not necessarily the most original, though handsomely presented.
May prove excruciatingly slow for impatient viewers.