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Movie Review: El Crimen del Padre Amaro (The Crime of Father Amaro)

Story: An idealistic young priest becomes morally bankrupt faster than you can say 10 Hail Mary's in this Mexican import directed by Carlos Carrera. The story is based on a book written in 1875 by J.M. Eca de Quieroz (needless to say it has been updated to reflect the current criticism of the Church).

A young, extremely handsome priest enters a parish that is knee deep in corruption. The priests are 'in bed' with drug lords by money laundering. The church uses that money to go towards good deeds. This is easily justified by believing that'bad money is being used for good works. The priest is also literally in bed with a local woman. The sinning goes on and on to include blackmail, abortion, displacement of local peasants off of their land and a whole lot of blasphemy. Our young priest sinks very low, very quickly. This place is indeed, Far from Heaven (oh, that's' another film -- never mind)!

It plays like a soap opera with one horrific scene after the next. But, all in all, I did enjoy the film. The characters are depicted as 'sinners', but not bad people. They were seduced by the power of their positions. It apparently happens in all walks of life.

The Mexican Catholic Church was horrified by this film and used a great deal of publicity to try to ban it. Their efforts backfired, resulting in the film being the highest grossing homegrown film in Mexican history. Dios mio!

Acting: Gael Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mama, Tambian) was delicious as the young priest. Everyone else was right on the money.

Predilection: I like Mexico.

Critters: Many cats.

Food: Si! Chalupas, chile rellenos, something with mole and rice and beans.

Visual Art: Religious icons galore and a poster of the Pope.

Blatant Product Placement: This film does nothing positive for the Catholic Church.

Soundtrack: Excellent.

Theater Audience: Other than the three of us, there were just four people in the theater on a cold, snowy Christmas Day. Perhaps it was not anyone else's choice for a theme on this particular holiday.

Squirm Scale: There is a gruesome murder.

Predictability Level: High (one must pay for one's sins).

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: No nits to pick. But I am sure other folks would have a whole parcel of nits to pick.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental for sure. Y Tu Mama, Tambien is out on video now. How about renting that one?

Length: A little under two hours.