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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Stigmata

Starring: Patricia Arquette, Jonathan Pryce
Director: Rupert Wainwright
Rated: R
RunTime: 102 Minutes
Release Date: September 1999
Genres: Drama, Horror, Religion, Thriller

*Also starring: Gabriel Byrne, Nia Long, Patrick Muldoon, Jack Donner

Review by Susan Granger
1 star out of 4

In a season when there have been some really scary horror pictures ("Blair Witch Project," "Sixth Sense," "Stir of Echoes"), this garish, overwrought hodge-podge of symbols, icons, and loud sound-effects just doesn't measure up. Stigmata are bleeding injuries that resemble the wounds inflicted Jesus' head, hands, feet, an back during the crucifixion. The occurrence of stigmata is neither well understood nor extensively documented in Christian mythology but those afflicted are usually deeply religious, often hysterical, and regard their condition as a gift from God. The story begins as Patricia Arquette, as a sullen 23 year-old Pittsburgh hairdresser, an atheist, receives an old rosary as a souvenir from her mother, who was vacationing in Brazil. Within 24 hours after she touches the ancient circlet of black beads, she experiences a painful, deep puncture wound in each wrist, the first of five stigmata. The second, a criss-crossing of her back with the lashes of an invisible whip, occurs while she's riding on a subway - to the horror of a nearby priest, who contacts the Vatican about the bizarre incident. A sinister Cardinal, played by Jonathan Pryce, sends a Jesuit Father, that's Gabriel Byrne, to investigate what turns out to be the supernatural channeling of a malevolent spirit. At the bottom of it all, screenwriters Tom Lazarus and Rick Ramage, along with director Rupert Wainwright, assert that there's more corruption in the contemporary Catholic church than anyone wants to admit. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Stigmata" is a gruesome, grisly 3. It's a bloody bore - and an insult to those who have faith in the Catholic doctrine.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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