French ¾ber-actor Daniel Auteuil stars as Xavier, an investigator with a seedy past -- he's had a mysterious scrape or two, and now, to get by, he does double time, accepting money for an engagement only to blackmail the subject for more. When a wealthy woman (Nastassja Kinski) and her family hire Xavier to find a grown man who's gone missing, Xavier ends up cracking a child porn gang wide open.
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Putting the tale into motion is Nicholas (Paul Bettany), an earnest but lustful priest who is caught bedding a married woman of his flock and fleeing from his town in disgrace. On the road without any prospects, he encounters a troupe of itinerant actors making their way from town to town and earning their keep by staging scenes out of the Bible for an entertainment-deprived, rural public. Offering his limited skills, Nicholas convinces Martin (Willem Dafoe), the troupe's main man, to accept him into the ensemble against Tobias's (Brian Cox) grousing against it. Martin's sister Sarah (Gina McKee), on the other hand, is quick to overcome her initial distrust and soon develops a growing affection for the fair-haired newbie. As her eyes increasingly fasten on him, she brings a hint of sexual tension to the scenario.
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