The Monk

The Monk

Starring: Vincent Cassel, Joséphine Japy, Déborah François

Director: Dominik Moll

Rating: 2.5/5

It was 2006 when Dominik Moll last directed a movie but this week he is back with the adaptation of Matthew Gregory Lewis' 1796 novel of the same name.

Abandoned as a baby on the steps of a monastery and raised in strict Capuchin fashion, Ambrosio has become the most famous preacher in the country.

While large crowds from all over the country come to hear his mesmerizing sermons, he’s also bitterly envied for his success by certain fellow monks.

Convinced of his virtue and righteousness, Brother Ambrosio thinks he is immune to temptation... until his desires but his faith to the test.

The novel was a criticism of the hypocrisy of Catholicism but the film doesn't really go down this path it is more concerned with the development of the central character Ambrosio.

Vincent Cassel is perfectly cast as Ambrosio he brings a real charisma to the role and, at times, a real coldness as he sticks to doctrine and rules of the church.

You can see from the very start that he is a conflicted character and it is around him that the suspense in the movie is built.

There could have been more action filled scenes as Ambrosio gives in to temptation but instead Moll has shot this in a way where it is almost silent and self consuming - while that works well on paper I don't think it is quite right for a movie.

The Monk is not without it's moments but it just lack that real punch of momentum, in places it really is a little dull.

It is beautifully shot throughout - the bright day contrasting with the rather eerie Monastery under darkness.

I can see what Moll is trying to achieve with this movie and there is, at times, an unsettling feel about the movie that works really well.

But that atmosphere isn't sustained and The Monk is perhaps not as hard hitting and as shocking as it could have been - which is a real shame.

But Cassel really is the huge plus point for the movie as it is another intriguing performance from him.

The Monk is out now

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

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