El Crimen Del Padre Amaro

"Good"

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Review


Bearing subtle but uncanny structural similarities to American mob movies like "The Godfather" and "Goodfellas," Mexico's highest grossing homegrown film of all time is a substantive parable about an honorable young priest corrupted by desire, temptation, ego and ethical turpitude within the Catholic Church.

"El crimen del Padre Amaro" stars sharply handsome Gael García Bernal (ubiquitous of late in the Mexican imports "Amores Perros" and "Y Tu Mamá También") as Father Amaro, an eager, newly ordained, 24-year-old priest whose ideals are tested and found wanting when he's assigned to a small-town parish run by an canon-transgressing elder clergyman.

Father Benito (Sancho Gracia) may be dedicated to his congregation, but he's also in bed figuratively with local drug cartels -- their donations are funding construction of a new church-run hospital -- and literally with a local widow (Angélica Aragón). Coincidentally, it is this woman's eye-catchingly angelic, devout but extremely sensual teenage daughter Amelia (Ana Claudia Talancón) who is the initial catalyst for Father Amaro's downfall.

A liberal young cleric, Amaro is no supporter of the chastity his office requires, but the fact that he's willing to weave a web of lies to facilitate his seduction of this intelligent but naive girl hints at the slippery slope of his virtue. Meanwhile, Amelia's rookie journalist ex-boyfriend (Andrés Montiel) -- jealous of her faith and her obvious infatuation with the new priest -- takes it upon himself to investigative the parish's drug connections. It isn't long before a mob-boss-like bishop is asking Amaro to strong-arm the newspaper into silence, a task he takes to alarmingly well, despite his own concerns about the very same matters.

Adapted and updated from an 1875 novel by Jose Maria Eca de Queiroz, "Padre Amaro" isn't so much a film about one man's weak moral character as it is a commentary on the culture within the Catholic clergy's power structure that encourages its intrinsic instinct to cover up its scandals. Although Amaro is the picture's protagonist, he isn't meant to be an entirely sympathetic figure, but rather a symbol of how even a soul with good intentions can rapidly decay in a person without moral courage.

Even as Father Amaro struggles with his principles, he begins to consider his position in the church above all else -- including Amelia's heedless romantic devotion -- leading to blackmail, blasphemy, deception and tragedy.

Director Carlos Carrera does not pass judgement on Father Amaro, Father Benito or another area priest, who is excommunicated for supporting a band of peasant guerillas. His purpose is to look into these men's hearts and let pity or indignation fall where they may. And to that end, he's garnered veritable, very human performances from Bernal and Gracia that embody both piety and fallibility, both depth and arrogance, both faith and apathy.

This is not a movie for those who want their heroes absolved and their plot resolved. But it is a movie that puts you in the position of each central character -- Amaro, Benito, Amelia, the young reporter and his editor -- asks tough questions of conscience, and provides a lot of food for thought.

For the record, "El crimen del Padre Amaro" is Mexico's official entry to be considered for this year's Foreign Film Oscar nominations.



El Crimen Del Padre Amaro

Facts and Figures

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th August 2002

Box Office USA: $5.4M

Budget: $1.8M

Distributed by: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Production compaines: Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía, Alameda Films, Cinecolor-México, Cinecolor-Argentina, Artcam y Fonds Sud Cinéma

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Fresh: 51 Rotten: 31

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Carlos Carrera

Starring: as Padre Amaro, as Amelia, as Padre Benito Díaz, as Augustina Sanjuanera, as Obispo, as Martín, as Padre Natalio Pérez, as Rubén de la Rosa, Pedro Armendáriz, Jr. as El Presidente Municipal Gordo, Blanca Loaria as Getsemaní, Juan Ignacio Aranda as Chato Aguilar, Verónica Langer as Amparito, as Padre Mauro, Lorenzo de Rodas as Don Paco de la Rosa, Roger Nevares as Padre Galván

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Advertisement
Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.