The Monk is a 2011 French-Spanish thriller directed by Dominik Moll. It is an adaptation of Matthew Lewis’ gothic novel of the same name. It chronicles the story of a Capucin Ambrosio (Vincent Cassel), a well-respected monk in Spain and his downfall.
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 mesmerising 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 obscure events start terrorising the monastery. Could they be connected to the unexpected arrival of Valerio, an apprentice monk who has the miraculous gift to relieve Ambrosio’s splitting headaches and hides his disfigured face under a wax mask?
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“Moll does a fantastic job of evoking a properly gothic atmosphere, bringing back fond memories of classic 1970s Euro-horror […] This goes a long way to lifting the film up several notches, and its oppressive, doom-laden air does help hold the interest and adds a certain grim authenticity to its period setting.” Beyond Hollywood.
“Dominik Moll’s The Monk is so redolent with Gothic gloom, overweening piety and suppressed lust that it’s almost in danger of self-combusting. It’s held together by a towering performance from Vincent Cassel, who recently played French gangster Jacques Mesrine, and seems to exude menace without even trying.” Sound on Sight