From the director of Blank Check comes the latest religious up-in-arms controversial picture billed to your local theater. While being wrongly labeled a horror flick, this movie is nothing to get excited over if you take your religion seriously. Because this movie sure doesn’t, and the only ones that will be influenced by this hour and forty minute music video of blood would simply be the gullible.
Patricia Arquette plays Pittsburgh’s young and nubile atheist hero and the finest hairdresser in town, when she isn’t bleeding over her customers that is. Well the party girl gets in touch with some rosaries and has violent seizures and fits, as well as experiencing strange wounds and lashes akin to the wounds of Christ. Faster than you can say “Mulder and Scully where are you?” the Vatican dispatches priest Gabriel Byrne to investigate the bizarre goings on. What he soon discovers turns him into a believer and turns the Catholic church scared that Christ is coming back and brandishing some mean hickory. Paddlin’ line starts west of Rome.
It’s not that the idea is totally repellent or half-baked, but the movie is turned into an MTV video with legs. With all the hyper-editing and pounding electro music from Pumpkinite Billy Corgan you’ll be thrashing in your seat having a violent seizure yourself. The over stuffing of cuts and more blood than a Red Cross drive can’t cover up a head scratcher of a storyline.
The script has so many glaringly logistical problems stacked up everywhere trying to present themselves as pious dogma. Stigmata is merely the recreation of Christ’s wounds, not soul possession. How in the world Arquette becomes the working girl version of Linda Blair is beyond logic. The movie also perceives that stigmata can be transmitted by touch. It’s not an STD people, we don’t need pamphlets trumpeting safe religious reenactments in schools do we? But the biggest hole is not the notion there’s a Catholic conspiracy hiding valuable works of Jesus that may be a threat to their job security. After all the fuss and the build up the hidden passages and books are nothing more than a basic Sunday School lesson. Is this what everyone’s shaking in their gowns over? I’ve seen more religious danger in a Denny’s breakfast menu.
Stigmata is a glitzy and loud poison pen letter to religion. It’s got an incomprehensible storyline and wastes the great actor Jonathon Pryce for the role of a villainous Catholic Cardinal always within reach of his cell phone. Stigmata is an example of what the movie industry is serving out these days: all style, no substance if any, and without any semblance of common sense. So of course it’s destined to make a killing at the box-office.
Nate’s Grade: C-