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Stigmata (DVD)

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Genre: Horror / Theatrical Release: 1999 / Director: Rupert Wainwright / Actors: Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne ... / DVD released 10 July, 2000 at MGM Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, Dubbed, PAL, Widescreen

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      26.02.2010 13:56
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      Entertaining and throught provoking horror film

      Patricia Arquette stars here as Frankie, in a horror film with a religious theme, based on the phenomenon of Stigmata, a series of wounds that affects a person based on the wounds of Christ.

      Frankie, as a character, is an atheist woman who doesn't have many morals but she lives life the best she can and I think her lack of morality (ie meeting guys in nightclubs and then having one night stands with them) was made part of her character to serve as a kind of punishment when the Stigmata occurs.

      That is the way I perceived it.

      She also suffers scary visions of the Virgin Mary, although this wasn't made clear why to me in the film, I think I can understand why these visions were occurring.

      Gabriel Byrne plays Father Kiernan and his character tries to help Frankie with her ordeal although he is scorned at first!

      Throughout the film, Frankie gradually develops romantic feelings for Kiernan but continuously reminds her of his devotion to the Vatican and the fact that he is also a Catholic priest.

      The above sparked a lot of criticism and controversy among the Catholic Church and community, as did the sequences where Frankie is eventually overtaken by the Stigmata and becomes possessed by another deceased priest named Father Alameida who also suffered from the Stigmata phenomenon.

      I can understand why the Catholics would speak about that one since the Alameida character can decipher the Gospel of Thomas scripts which can effectively invalidate the Catholic Church.

      I have no idea about any real life claims of this but that is what is explained in the movie.

      Jonathan Pryce plays the boss of Kiernan who sends him on his way to disprove the theory that Frankie is suffering from Stigmata (before he believes it and attempts to help her) and the film details the struggle of differences and conflicts between Kiernan and Pryce's character and the Church of Vatican, the Church that Kiernan works for.

      Performances are generally very good from all involved but I would say the best performance would have to come from Gabriel Byrne who gets really into his character and seems to play it with ease.

      These type of characters really suit him!

      This movie has a few levels and they are quite deep so I don't think people, who prefer their films quite superficial such as low budget slasher films, would enjoy this one much.

      It is not a particularly fast paced film either and it takes it's time to develop characters and the story, however, it moves the story forward effectively and it never feels like it just stops.

      I recommend this one if you like horror films based on religious themes but if you do study or undertake any religion then be aware that this may offend you to a certain degree!

      I think it's a decent horror film, in my opinion, that I found both entertaining and original, at least in the world of Hollywood!

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        05.01.2010 23:06
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        The best horror/theological film

        My favourite film within the horror genre, an absolute classic with religious and spiritual theatre which cannot and has not been replicated elsewhere in film.

        If you like horror films but with more than a ghost, ghoul and axe, go for stigmata. It has elements of passion, power, profanity, devotion, spirituliam and essence which no other horror can replicate.

        Based upon a girl who suffers from stigmata, the markings of christ, the horrors begin and posession takes place through the girl with devil enticement and continual realms of exorcism throughout.

        Incredibly powerful and startling, it wont have you hiding behind your cushion its far to intense and only allows your eyes to be stuck to the screen, waiting to see what is approaching and how the girl will react and what christs intentions are for her or indeed the devils himself.

        The religion seeks your own emotions and thoughts of christ and his powers into discussion, where does earth end, heaven begin and what happens beyond through hell, questions we actually ask alot but this film converys them in 2 hours throughout.

        Acting exquisite, emotion at its peak and albeit its a scare factor in some areas the passion of the script throughout will embrace you into learning and wanting to know more of this evil possesion that is taking place.

        Not for the sqeamish - this film is horrific but well worth every horror lovers eyes

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          13.09.2009 23:07
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          a look into the theories of stigmata and the catholic church

          Released in 1999, Stigmata stars Patricia Arquette as a young woman who receives stigmata, and Gabriel Byrne as a priest who is investigating this claim.

          Father Andrew Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne) is a scientist as well as a priest and he works for the Vatican and is sent all over the world to investigate claims of miracles. He is originally sent to investigate a statue of Christ that appears to be crying tears of blood. When he can't disprove this supposed miracle he is sent to America to see Frankie (Patricia Arquette) who another priest as seen to be displaying signs of having received stigmata. Before meeting the priests Frankie, who isn't at all religious, has never heard of stigmata. She wakes up to find herself in hospital after she's been rushed there for having holes drives through her wrists to the other side, which didn't hit a vein. Father Andrew explains to her that it appears she has received stigmata, the 5 wounds that Christ received when he was crucified. The film progresses as she gets the other wounds, whip lashes on her back, the marks from his crown of thorns, holes through her feet, and the last one would be a spear through her side. Devote Catholics have been said to receive these wounds, but as Frankie is a self confessed atheist it seems impossible that these wounds have anything to do with religion.

          I watched this film when it came out and I thought it was quite chilling, and loved how religion and the bible tied into the story. But upon watching it again the story isn't as strong as I remember. It's quite slow moving, focusing on Frankie receiving the various wounds as her relationship with father Andrew develops. Although he dismisses Frankie's wounds because she's atheist, for some reason he stays with her and carries on his investigations. Frankie also speaks in tongues, and writes an unknown language on the wall, which turns out to be Aramaic, the language of Christ. The film hints at the book of the bible which Christ wrote, which details his life through his own words, and it seems that Frankie is becoming a vessel through which this is being told. It is quite clever how Frankie's stigmata is explained in the end, and I like the conspiracy theories to do with the Catholic church are involved in the plot. It does make me wonder whether they do try to disprove miracles, and what they do try to cover up. But the film on a whole falls a bit flat to me. I don't think the acting is terribly believable, and the relationship between Frankie and Father Andrew certainly isn't, to be honest I'm not sure why it was included in the film, it seems to have no relevance to the plot. I'm not sure if this film is meant to be scary, but to me it's not at all, and I am generally a total wimp when it comes to any kind of horror film.

          I think this film is ok to watch once if you've never seen it, but don't be expecting anything brilliant. To me the best thing about this is the interesting little bits and pieces about the church, how it works, the possibilities of what it does and doesn't do. But then I do think conspiracy theories are interesting, and I'm not a religious person, if I thought differently then this film probably wouldn't have anything in it for me at all.

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            10.09.2009 20:46
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            Say your prayers

            What scares you?

            It's a pretty subjective thing, and so are opinions on what makes a scary movie. We all have different buttons to be pushed, I suppose, depending on what lies deep in our psyche. I find clowns funny. Others find them scary. Fair enough. But, strange as it seems, I'd absolutely freak out if a pigeon flew into the room I'm typing this in. Ever been in a room with one of our feathered friends trapped with you, banging itself against the window in the vain hope of escape? Maybe that doesn't bother you, but it bothers me.

            So what is it about Stigmata that means that of the 55 reviews written before mine, they're almost all full of glowing praise?

            Patricia Arquette plays Frankie Paige, a single fun-loving New York hairdresser who receives a rosary through the post sent by her mother from Belo Quinto, Brazil. The rosary has come from the late Father Paolo Almeida, much beloved of his congregation, who have put him forward for canonisation. Investigating as representative of the Vatican is Father Andrew Kiernan, played by Gabriel Byrne, a former professional scientist turned priest. On seeing signs of miraculous events such as the appearance of doves and statues crying blood, Father Kiernan reports back to Cardinal Houseman, played by Jonathan Pryce, the scientific data he has recorded about the would-be saint. Rather than sending Father Kiernan back to Belo Quinto for further investigations, Cardinal Houseman assigns him a new mission in New York. There, Frankie Paige has been captured on subway CCTV, on a train that has veered out of control, being scourged by an unseen force, and the case has made national news.

            What Andrew Kiernan doesn't know is that Frankie has already exhibited a sign of the stigmata, namely in that her wrists were injured as if punctured by nails. Interviewing her, Frankie declares herself to be an atheist, at which point Father Kiernan concludes that his investigations are at an end, as only the very holy exhibit signs of the stigmata. Frankie then shows him the wounds she has received to her wrists - as if nails had penetrated right through - and a note written in Italian in her kitchen: "Split a piece of wood and I am there; lift a stone and you will find me."

            Father Kiernan cannot bring himself to believe that this is a genuine case of the stigmata until Frankie suffers fresh and increased manifestations of it - including further scourging and nails through the wrists, nails through the feet, and crowning with thorns. She also starts to speak and write Aramaic while in a trance-like state, as if possessed. So what can it mean? Is it a case of possession? Or is it more complicated than that? And why are the Church so keen to steer Father Kiernan away from Belo Quinto? Can the secret be in the mysterious message Frankie wrote in her own hand, despite not speaking Italian?

            The plot ties up all these loose ends rather neatly, I found, without being complex. The film has the excellent concept, created long before Dan Brown started churning out his Penny Dreadfuls, of using the secrets of antiquity to reveal a truth the Church will go to any length to suppress. But God obviously has His own ideas. As Frankie herself says: "You know what's more frightening than not believing in God? Believing in Him. I mean, REALLY believing in Him." And therein lies the chill.

            I'd suspected that this film excited my jitter nerve because of my Roman Catholic upbringing and my Celtic sense of the superstitious, but it's obvious from reviews on here that I'm not alone. The reason for that is not only in the script, but in the acting too.

            When Father Kiernan informs Frankie that she has received four of the five wounds of Christ, that Saint Francis of Assissi only ever received two, and the final one to come is a spear through the side, her response is a very natural human one: "I'm dying aren't I? This thing is killing me."

            It's a simple line, delivered with human emotion, as if to accuse the priest whose wealth of ecclesiastical knowledge cannot give her the answers she needs. She's afraid, and having accompanied the likeable Frankie so far through this film, we are likewise touched and fearful for her. She presents as an insignificant, undeserving and confused victim of an Omnipotent God and an Infallible Church, and her vulnerability not only adds to the sympathy we have for her, but makes us fear for her all the more.

            The few critics of the film have either not followed the plot (or maybe failed to understand it) or have complained that it's not The Exorcist. Well, it's not The Exorcist, so get over it. It stands alone on its own merits, not least on its well-researched grounding in the Roman Catholic Church and the lives of the saints. You may be misled into believing that St Thomas's Gnostic Gospel, called The Secret Sayings of the Living Jesus, has been suppressed by the Vatican, when in fact you can pick up a copy at Foyle's, but we can forgive this artistic licence, just as we suspend our sense of disbelief when it comes to things like demonic possession. It's ultimately crucial to a very good plot.

            The film proved controversial in that it depicted Cardinal Houseman trying to commit murder, which does happen in the story, but Jonathan Pryce deserves particular praise for making his character the most credibly Machiavellian of all. Director Rupert Wainwright can pat himself on the back for that piece of casting, but also for the film as a whole, which has an alternate (and better) Director's Cut ending on DVD to the version shown at the cinema. Ultimately, what you find scary is down to you, but if this doesn't do the trick, you'll be in the minority.

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              06.07.2009 17:10
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              A treat for horror & thriller fans!

              It feels like years ago since I last watched Stigmata, and something prompted my memory of it this morning so I thought I'd review what I think was a pretty good religious horror film.

              Stigmata was released in 2000 and is rated certificate 18 because of language and horror content. I wouldn't say it's the scariest film you'll ever see, but it has some good shocking scenes and atmospheric build-up.

              The story is based on a Jesuit priest-turned-detective, who investigates religious mysteries, and his involvement with a woman called Frankie, who is of great interest in his field. Frankie, played by Partricia Arquette, is an ordinary woman making a living as a hairdresser with a slightly wacky sense of fashion taste. It's not long into the film that we see the first signs of strange goings-on when Frankie suffers some gruesome and painful wounds, firstly these appear as holes in her wrist. Resembling Stigmata afflictions, talk of the wounds make their way to the Vatican. The priest-turned-detective, Father Kiernan, played by Gabriel Bryne, finds himself assigned to the case and quickly sucked in to a puzzling and disturbing series of events.

              As the film goes on, other stigmata-like manifestations are inflicted upon Frankie, with the obvious debate over whether this is an issue of her own or someone else's abuse, or if it is indeed a supernatural occurrence with religious origins. I can't say much more without giving away the events and ruining the plot, but there's enough in terms of action and storyline to keep you interested and committed to watching the film from start to finish.

              When I first watched this, there are obvious links to other religious and supernatural films within this genre, the most obvious being The Exorcist. I'm glad to say that Stigmata doesn't feel like a cheap rip-off of the classics, and instead, offers a new slant and approach.

              The cast, headed by Arquette and Bryne, also features Johnathan Pryce and Portia De Rossi. The leading characters are, in my opinion, very well played. Arquette realistically brings to life a tortured young woman, without going over top, and adds the edge needed to bring in some horror and fear. Bryne, who I'm a fan of anyway, brings sceptical eyes and a compassionate soul to the film.

              The direction and scenery, along with the musical choices, are pretty much spot on, giving the film a well-rounded feel. The suspense and horror are built up nicely, then compassionately cooled down with empathy towards the woman suffering from such a harrowing ordeal. The gore, language and actions are used sensibly and flow well through throughout the 109 minutes running time, and so are all relevant rather than being thrown in to take up time.

              Overall, I would definitely recommend Stigmata for a slightly updated horror film that retains some of the key features of the classics before it. This religious thriller is balanced to provide a degree of horror, which is believable and realistic rather than cheesy.

              The RRP, according to Amazon, is £19.99, but they're currently selling it at £4.48. The special features include delete scenes, an alternative ending, music video, documentary and the 'story of stigmata'. For under a fiver, it's definitely a DVD worth adding to your collection, or at watching the next time it makes its way onto TV.

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              16.06.2009 14:35
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              Have you been touched by god - is god real and do miriclees get proformed!!

              Stigmata is the type of film that is good for religious and non-religious people and folllows the story of a scientific preist who is sent to investigate possible "miricles". When he meets a woman who has stigmata that everyone seems to believe is self harming the investigation begins to disocver why she is doing it to herself, or what is doing it to her and why. (stimgmata being said to be the touch of god that leaves marks on the hands and feet)

              Through a series of events and strage happenings stigmata comes to a climactic end that does the whole story justice. Definalty worth watching, even if you arent religious.

              Althought it is a relativly old film it still seems to have a modern twist of micirles, religion and the society that is bound by relgion if they accept it or not. I definalty recomend watching this film for a good thriller and suspense ridden film.

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                12.01.2009 01:17

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                you will enjoy this.

                Stigmata.
                =======

                A film that I only watched on the off chance and boy was it a cracker.

                We follow two main characters who eventually meet and that's when the story really takes off.
                Father Keirnan is a Vatican investigator who is dispatched around the world debunking supposed miracles.
                And then there is Frankie, a part time waitress and general nobody.
                When Frankie starts to exhibit The Stigmata she comes to the attention of Father Keirnan and soon he is drawn into a true and shocking miracle. The hallucination and terrors that begin to materialise are both graphic and scary.
                The movie builds and builds to a surprising ending, in fact two ending if you want to see the alternate ending.

                The acting performance from Gabriel Byrne, Frankie Paige and Jonathan Price where excellent. In fact the whole shooting, musical score and pace of the movie was breathtaking.
                Watch this film you will enjoy it, guaranteed.

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                11.01.2009 19:34
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                One of my all time favourite films.

                Stigmata traditionally takes the form of the five wounds that Jesus had inflicted upon him during his crucifixion. These wounds typically are through the hands and feet where Jesus was nailed to the cross and marks on the forehead from the thorny crown. Stigmatics may display just one or al of these wounds and is a highly debatable topic.

                The film Stigmata was released in 1999 and directed by Rupert Wainwright. I can't believe this film is now ten years old but it is one of my all time favourites and I decided to blow the dust off it and watch it again on cold Sunday as an excuse to stay in the warm!

                **The Plot**

                This film follows the story of Frankie (Patricia Arquette), an atheist hairdresser. Frankie receives a rosary from her mother as a gift from her holiday in Brazil. Unknown to Frankie and her mother this rosary once belonged to a Father who was ex-communicated from the church and suffered from stigmata.

                As soon as Frankie receives the rosary strange things begin to happen to her. Her friends are worried about her and think her sickness is down to the possibility of her being pregnant! Frankie soon starts to show signs of the stigmata which draws the attention of Father Andrew (Gabriel Byrne) who is a former scientist. He investigates all stigmata and miracle claims and aims to provide a scientific explanation for events.

                Father Andrew soon gets to the cause of her stigmata and discovers that the rosary belonged to a Father who discovered a lost gospel which challenged the foundations of Catholicism and this was the reason for his ex-communication. Cardinal Daniel Houseman (Jonathan Price) tries to get Frankie silenced, causing her and Father Andrew to go on the run.

                Time is running out for Frankie as her stigmata get worse and her condition becomes life threatening. Will they manage to cure her in time before her inflictions take her life?

                **My Thoughts**

                Whilst the stigmata in themselves are a highly controversial subject I liked the fact that this film chose a complete non believer as the subject for the stigmata. Sufferers of the stigmata tend to be extremely religious but if God treats us al as equals then why should only a 'believer' suffer from stigmata?!

                Te film has a somewhat Exorcist feel about it as basically the character Frankie is being possessed by an unknown form. The suffering from the stigmata is quite dramatic and gruesome with plenty of blood and screaming so the film may not be to every ones taste! Also it may be a bit too controversial for some Catholics to watch. I am not highly religious myself but I do not believe that the film portrays religion in a negative way. I have watched a few religion based films and this is by far the best if the most controversial that I have seen.

                Many scenes in the film are similar to that in the Exorcist such as Frankie floating and rising above her bed during the possession and when she speaks in a tongue that is not hers. During all the stigmata and possession scenes though you are really drawn into the film and her suffering. The directing is brilliant and on most occasions when the stigmata happen they are so sudden and brutal they make you jump out of your skin!

                The special effects and scenery are brilliant and really add to the whole viewing experience. This is a thought provoking film that keeps you hooked from the start right through to the end. The suspense is almost unbearable towards the end of the film when you are trying to piece together the whole story and predict the ending!

                This is one of my favourite movies of all time and one that I can watch over and over again. A real classic!

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                  13.08.2008 18:19
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                  A surprising film

                  Stigmata.
                  ********

                  Starring:
                  Patricia Arquette: Frankie Paige
                  Gabriel Byrne: Father Andrew keirnan
                  Jonathan Price: Cardinal Houseman

                  The movie begins with a statue crying tears of blood.
                  Vatican investigator Father Keirnan is dispatched to Brazil to investigate. A rosary is stolen from that church and ends up with Frankie, in America, who has no faith in god whatsoever. Her life is about to change forever.
                  She begins to exhibit the stigmata with bleeding from her wrists and feet.
                  Frankie is drawn to Father Kiernan when she starts to experience disturbing hallucinations.

                  Father Keirnan meanwhile is torn between his faith and being a scientist. He travels the globe debunking so called miracles, but now he is beginning to believe something spiritually significant is happening, it is centred around Frankie, and that it will destroy the church and forever change the world.
                  She becomes possessed and then the writing and the talking begins, very spooky.

                  The 2nd half of the film really takes off with frightening and disturbing circumstances.
                  No more spoilers watch the movie.


                  Opinions:
                  ******
                  The film is superbly shot with a cool soundtrack.
                  The acting performances from Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne and Jonathan Price are sublime and very realistic.
                  It raises interesting questions about the power of the church and how far it would go? Will it kill Frankie to preserve itself?


                  DVD Features:
                  **********
                  Choice of 4 languages,
                  English, German, French, Spanish.
                  Subtitles in:
                  English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish, Greek, Hungarian.
                  Alternate Ending.
                  5 deleted scenes.
                  Directors' commentary.
                  Chapter Selection.
                  Original Theatrical Trailer.
                  8 page film booklet.

                  Stigmata is considered to be an honour from God.
                  It takes the form of 5 wounds:
                  The nailing of both Hands and Feet, Back lashings, the Crowning of thorns and the Sword in the side.
                  To date no one has ever received the 5th wound.


                  Greg.

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                    13.08.2008 10:59
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                    Cannot emphasise how important it is to your life that you watch this film!

                    I loved this film. I watched it three times in one weekend when I hired it and then bought the DVD shortly afterwards and watched it some more. I am fascinated by religion and this film raises some fascinating issues about the Catholic Church, corruption and faith. I love it!

                    PLOT
                    The film is about someone who is possessed by the spirit of a monk who has a secret to tell. The monk had stigmata and so the woman who's body he possesses also gets stigmata. She is not religious and knows nothing about stigmata or the secrets that the dead monk is trying to convey. This makes it fascinating, to see her struggle to turn her back on the world of religion but being drawn into it against her wishes because of the possession she is suffering. She is not constantly possessed, which means if it comes on suddenly, it can be pretty scary. You never quite know what state she will be in.

                    A priest befriends her when he is sent to investigate her stigmata by the Church. He does not trust the hierarchy and clearly went into the priesthood due to a deep faith and conviction about his own personal religion, rather than for any love of the Church.

                    The main plot is about the struggle between trying to understand the secrets that the monk is trying to convey, while at the same time hiding them from the Church hierarchy who know that the secrets could undermine the very bedrock of their Church.

                    ACTING
                    Superb!! I am a big fan of Gabriel Byrne and he does not disappoint in his priestly role. I want him to be my priest! Patricia Arquette is also excellent, portraying a carefree atheist who is sucked into a world of religion and must reassess all that she believes. Interestingly, Gabriel Byrne who clearly has deeply held religious beliefes, must also reassess his beliefs.

                    SPECIAL EFFECTS
                    Some of the possession scenes are incredible. Arquette is made to look like an old man and speaks in Aramaic with a old man's voice. I love this scene - it is my favourite in the film.

                    MUSIC
                    There is a great soundtrack to this film, with lots of dramatic loud music at exactly the right moments. I've not seen a CD of the soundtrack for sale but if I did, I would definitely buy it. It is very modern music, which compliments the modern lifestyle of Arquette and emphasises the contrast between the modern world and the world of the Church.

                    FAVOURITE BIT
                    When Arquette is possessed and her stigmata are pouring with blood and she is screaming at Byrne, 'How's your faith these days Father?' Oh, it sends a shiver down my spine.

                    OVERALL
                    It is rated an 18 and with just cause - absolutely terrifying and gruesome in places. I hate horror films but due to the really fascinating story line in this, I was gripped throughout and managed to look beyond the gory bits.

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                      31.07.2008 22:43

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                      An enjoyable film

                      A surprisingly good movie, if a little ridiculous in places, Stigmata tells the story of a woman who starts to slowly but surely gets signs of Stigmata (the wounds that Jesus received when he was crucified) on all the relevant parts of her body one by one. Gabriel Byrne is the priest who is investigating the phenomenon. The burning question is, is this the work of the Lord or is there an evil, more malevelent force at work? Patricia Arquette plays the victim of these attacks of Stigmata wonderfully and works very well against Gabriel Byrne's portrayal of the investigating Priest, who has disproved many religious phenomenon in the past but has trouble convincing himself that this is actually a hoax. Very horrible in some places, it does deserve its 18 ratings more than a lot of horrors that show gore and splatter purely for shock value, this is immensely watchable, as long as you think you will be able to handle it.

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                      16.07.2008 13:49
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                      great take on a controversial theme

                      The "stigmata" is a Christian religious term that refers to the spontaneous appearance of wounds corresponding to the wounds on the Christ's body when he was crucified. This religious experience is most typically associated with deeply religious people and, I believe, is not one that is widely taken seriously. What makes this movie interesting is that it portrays the appearance of these wounds as a terrifying, extremely painful and ultimately humiliating experience. There's nothing conventionally religious in the experience portrayed here -- in fact, the victim is an athiest


                      it is definitely anti-church, or rather, anti-establishment and anti-church politics. but it is not anti-god. the movie points out what many people believe already, that you do not need a church building to believe in god.

                      yet, it's not a religious movie. it's not really a horror movie. there are parts that are horrific, and it will make you think. don't watch this if you're in the mood for mindless entertainment. see it, and make your own judgements on what it's about. even if you don't agree with the premise, the acting and the storyline are well worth it.

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                        25.06.2003 20:07
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                        Released in 1999, Stigmata follows the journey of Father Andrew Kiernan as he seeks to discover the truth of the Stigmata that manifests upon a young girl named Frankie Paige. Employed by the Vatican to investigate miracles, Kiernan is a scientist trapped in the body of a priest. He finds himself at odds with his superiors and questioning their motives. We begin with him photographing a statue of the Virgin Mary that weeps blood in a tiny village in South America. It seems that the death of the local Father has triggered this strange occurrence. People all around flock to the Church. A flock of doves circle dropping feathers as the Father lies in his open coffin. Meanwhile a young boy steals the dead mans Rosary, sells it to an American women in the local market and she in turn sends it to her daughter Frankie back in the US. This chain of events leads to Frankie becoming the focus of the Stigmata. Frankie is an ordinary fun loving girl who by her own admission is an atheist. Yet her terrifying experiences as the Stigmata is inflicted upon her lead her to a new place of understanding and into a threat much greater than a spear in the side. The Stigmata is the manifestation of the 5 wounds of Christ - the lash of the whip upon His back, the nails in the wrist, nails in the feet, the crown of thorns and the spear through His side. Over the years many people have been reported to experience some of these wounds - the most common being the feet and hands. In all cases (which we are reminded of in the film) the victims are religious ecstatic and the wounds may or may not be a manifestation of their own fixation on Christ - still an unusual phenomena in my book even if that's the case. Of course the twist in the film is that Frankie does not believe yet somehow she still experiences the wounds. The viewer is led eventually to understand how this happens. I absolutely adore this film. I borrowed it off a friend a while ago and then watched i
                        t again when it was shown on BBC1. The second viewing only served to heighten my love of this move. Of course I have to mention that anything with Gabrielle Burne (Father Kiernan) is guaranteed to have me glued to the screen - eye candy for the 30 something's! He plays Kiernan with his usual passion, capturing all the anxiety and mystery of the film in a simple look. Patricia Arquette is stunning as Frankie. She seems like a little girl lost as her life and friends disappear in blood and torment. Her portrayal of primal fear combined with determination to live is electric. There are many creepy moments and on the second viewing I spotted several things I had missed first time round that made my skin crawl. The film is based upon the story of the Gospel of St. Thomas which was discovered in Egypt around a century ago. A full version was discovered in 1945 and it is believed that it dates back to pre 140a.d. The author of the Gospel is unknown although it is believed by many to have been written by someone who knew Jesus whilst he was alive. As with many things with the Church the Gospel was denounced and ridiculed. After all, including it in the Bible and/or taking it seriously would seriously damage the structure of the Church - if not demolish it. If taken as the word of Christ then He never wanted the power crazed, controlling structure that Xtians live with nowadays - rather, the divine was within each one of us. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there." According to Jesus - God is in everything. We do not need buildings to find God nor in fact priests. The movie captures the Church's desperation and corruption with ease and leads us on an unnerving journey that will send shivers down your spine on more than one occasion. Perhaps it is simply because it is so believable. Director Rupert Wainwright has does a wonderful job of creating atmosphere with long slow shots.
                        As a whole, the film is wonderfully cinematic. I was delighted to find that this is the man behind the TV series Wolf Lake. Much missed by me and badly axed before the series came to a natural conclusion. There are some stunning special effects, most saved towards the end of the movie but they make more of an impact. Watch out also for the train scene near the beginning, this definitely made me shudder. Screenwriter Tom Lazarus has created a brilliant script that eases the plot along. Looking at his biography I cannot say I recognise any of the other films he has done - but what a great name he has, especially for this film! It's not often I notice the score in a film which is strange for a musical person such as myself but I thought the score for Stigmata was excellent. With the likes of Sinead O'Connor, Massive Attack and Bjork it lends a contemporary classy feel. All in all I would highly recommend Stigmata for it's powerful story, high standard of acting and direction and exploration of Christianity. Below are a few links should you wish to discover more about themes in the movie or about the movie itself. Good grief - it's only now that I have written this opinion that I have just realised where the word 'stigmatised' comes from! http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/thomas.html for lots of links to translation of the Gospel, commentaries and more http://www.mgm.com/stigmata/ The official movie site http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14294b.htm What Catholism has to say about Stigmata http://www.forteantimes.com/articles/163_stigmatics.shtml True stories of Stigmatics in South America

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                          28.10.2001 17:37
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                          I once heard someone say, "I don't believe in God, but I fear him". And this film does exactly that. We watch this movie take us from the hands of those whose faith is their lives, to one young lady where faith is something you learn at Church. So when this young lady, Frankie Paige (Patricia Arquette), begins to demonstrate the wounds of Christs' crucifiction we are griped by fear for her. It is the job of a priest, Farther Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne), to investigate miracles brought to the attention of the Vatican. And when Frankie is brought to his attention, these bizarre events lead back to curruption that exists within the Vatican, and an ancient text which are believed to be the actual words of Christs. And of course, the Church officials who have hiden the text for so long decide, the mesenger must be silenced. It comes apparent that these words hold a message that could not only destroy the Roman Catholic Church, but change all in which belief had been held. So Farther Kiernan risks his own life in the pursuit of saving Frankies'. The series of events that make up the Stigmata demonstrate fantastic special effects, and an excellent soundtrack including Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins turn this film into a fear wrapped-finger griping experience. This film is a modern Exorcist, where faith is not an issue, only fear exists here and faith or not. This must see movie will blow you away and leave you asking questions about your own morality and the very existence of God. I recommend Stigmata to anyone old enough, and brave enough to watch it. This MGM 1999 horror goes down in my book as one of the films of the year.

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                            17.10.2001 22:06
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                            Stigmata The first noticable thing is the cover, the cover design is artwork in its own designed to catch the eye and attract you to it. The dvd has a whole range of special features and these are:- 1 special ending 2 Divine Rites - the story of Stigmata 3 Deleted scenes 4 Music video 5 Directors commentary 6 8 page film booklet on the making of the movie 7 Chapter selection 8 Theatrical trailer The chapter selection on the dvd is one of the best ive seen its split into 28 sections - a lot more than most so you can go almost dirctly to any part you require. The quality is excellant as is the acting a perfectly believable movie thatis definately one to watch and own. Gabriel Byrne plays Father Kiernan, a young Jesuit priest who is a sort of priest/detective as he investigates religious paramormal activities to see if they are fake. The film starts with him invenstigating a statue that is claimed to be bleeding. Meanwhile, Frankie (Patricia Arquette), is afflicted with the stigmata holes that appear in her wrists, resembling the wounds of Christ. The young woman's symptoms filter back to the Vatican and Father Kiernan is assigned to the case. Frankie dreams of Father Kiernon coming to see her before he actually does so it already starts building an electric atmosphere .The priest is puzzled by the fact that Frankie's an atheist and instantly starts to think its faked because usually the stigmata only appear on the devout. Other manifestations appear on Frankie, and the priest relizes that there is a lot more here than first meets the eye. Some of the special effects here are put to brilliant effect with the haunting music and air of suspense, Frankie's bed scoots across the room and she levitates into a crucifix position, she also talks in a language long forgotten but to a few men in the world who may be able to translate it. From here is where Kiernon makes
                            the discovery that in fact it is not stigmata but a possesion by the spirit of a priest who ran the chapel from where he invetigated the bleeding statue, as he learns that she had in fact gotten hold of the priests roseary beads. Now the film takes on a new element as kiernon is involved in a race against time to save the girl before she is killed by the wounds recieved from the spirit. The special effects here are astounding as the room fills with flames and he does all he can to save her. I wont say what the alternate ending is because that will just spoil it if you are going to see or get this movie but the dissappointing thing is that with my dvd it wont let you watch the second ending combined with the main movie - you have to watch it on its own. However the acting is brilliant and the film is definatley worth a five star rating a must see. Web Links www.stigmata.com www.crytalinks.com/stigmata.html www.padrepio.com www.knight.org/advent/cathen www.vatican.va www.infopls.com/ce5/CEO49609.html www.cin.org/franstig.html webhost.avint.net/hardticket/stigmata.htm Classification: 18 Colour, PAL Mgm Home Ent Run Time: 109 minutes Patricia Arquette - Frankie Paige Gabriel Byrne - Father Andrew Kiernan Jonathan Pryce - Cardinal Daniel Houseman Nia Long - Donna Chadway Thomas Kopache - Father Durning Rade Serbedzija - Marion Petrocelli Enrico Colantoni - Father Dario Dick Latessa - Father Gianni Delmonico Portia de Rossi - Jennifer Kelliho Patrick Muldoon - Steven Ann Cusack - Dr. Reston

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                            Gabriel Byrne plays Father Kiernan, a young Jesuit priest whose degree in chemistry makes him a sort of priest/detective as he investigates weeping Marys and the like around the world. Meanwhile, Frankie (Patricia Arquette), a rave-generation Pittsburgher, is afflicted with the stigmata--holes that appear in her wrists, resembling the wounds of Christ. The young woman's symptoms filter back to the Vatican and Father Kiernan is assigned to the case. The priest is puzzled by Frankie's atheism; usually the stigmata only appear on the devout (hence the age-old controversy of miracles vs. hysteria). Other manifestations appear on Frankie, and the priest's cardinal (Jonathan Pryce) is brought in, leading to political manoeuvring within the Church hierarchy. The film owes a large and obvious debt to The Exorcist (at one point, Frankie's bed scoots across the room and she levitates into a crucifix position) but to term it an Exorcist rip-off would be to short-change Stigmata. The premise and screenplay are more cerebral than in the l973 film, and the source of the phenomenon is coming from a completely different place. Unfortunately, amid Stigmata's high-octane editing and slick technique, the chills of The Exorcist aren't there, giving the movie a sort of identity crisis: horror movie or intellectual thriller? Several elements of the film challenge basic tenets of the Catholic faith, hence the brief furore that erupted at the time of the film's release; if nothing else, the internal workings of the Church are shown in a very unflattering light indeed. Byrne excels as the sceptical priest, as does Arquette as the tortured young woman. All told, Stigmata is a rather uneven effort but one with a thought-provoking combination of theology and thrills served up in a thoroughly modern, stylish package. Fans of TV's Ally McBeal will recognise Portia De Rossi in a supporting role. --Jerry Renshaw