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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

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.