El Crimen Del Padre Amaro

"OK"

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Review


Whether appearing on the front page of the morning paper or being the butt of a Late Night joke, Catholic priests just can't seem to catch a break. These days, knocking the Church is in vogue -- and director Carlos Carrera isn't about to let this opportunity pass him by. Carrera's latest film, El Crimen Del Padre Amaro, so brazenly criticizes the priesthood that it had bishops all over Mexico calling for a boycott. Instead, the film took in more at the box office than any other movie in the country's history.

Now showing to U.S. audiences, Padre Amaro tells the tale of a newly ordained priest who falls from grace with a little help from a rural Mexican community. The handsome Padre, played by Gael García Bernal of Amores Perros and Y Tu Mamá También, begins his stay in Los Reyes as the sort of kind spirit who gives his money to an old man after being robbed on a bus. By the end, though, he's no better -- and perhaps quite a bit worse -- than the corrupt elders who surround him.

Unfortunately, Carrera fails to show this transformation with any sort of consistency or depth. The film isn't sure whether it's a drama or a comedy. And it only takes a few days after Padre Amaro's arrival in town for him to go from being a pious idealist to the bishop's mercenary, demanding that a journalist (Andrés Montiel) be transferred for writing an incriminating article about another priest (Sancho Gracia) -- an article that he knows is completely factual. That he accepts this first task without any soul searching kicks the legs out from under the movie. If the Padre barely had any scruples to begin with, why does it matter that he has none in the end?

Much of the controversy surrounding the film centers on the Padre's decision to abandon his chastity for a pretty young thing (Ana Claudia Talancón). While the 16-year old Amelia supposedly seduces him -- another sign of the town's infectious corruption -- the Padre barely offers any resistance and is, in fact, the one who arranges for the shag shack where they spend their afternoons. He is also the one who suggests Amelia don nothing but the Virgin's satin cloak during one of their "sessions." Strangely, Bernal plays these scenes with little emotion at all, again leaving the viewer without any sign of inner turmoil. This makes it incredibly difficult to care for his character when he ends up having to take Amelia to get an abortion, and having to deal with the aftermath.

But Padre Amaro is not all bad. Gastón Melo plays a tender parishioner caring for a severely handicapped daughter. And the only likeable priest in the film is Padre Natalio (Damián Alcázar), who feels at home in the hills, among farmers and guerillas. But Carrera's response to these men is to drive them out of town. The former is banished and the latter is excommunicated, making for an interesting commentary on the fate of do-gooders. (Of course, this is not all the director's doing; Padre Amaro is an updated version of the 19th century novel by Eça de Queirós.)

Yet, for all the trouble it caused and all the pesos it brought in, Padre Amaro is a surprisingly lacking film. Perhaps if Carrera had dropped some of the comic relief and forced Bernal to adopt an expression (anything at all), it would have amounted to a serious statement about morality and Catholicism. As it is now, though, the Church shouldn't worry itself too much.

Aka The Crime of Father Amaro. In Spanish with English subtitles. The DVD also features a dueling commentary track in Spanish also with English subtitles -- but unfortunately this makes it difficult to follow the movie. Also avoid the English dubbed track, which makes Amaro sound like a street thug.

Father Amaro hears his guilty charge.



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: 2.5 / 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

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...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

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

Advertisement
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...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

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.