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Stigmata (1999)

Duration1h 43m
RatingsUK: 18, USA: R, most other countries: 16
Source of storyAn original screenplay
DirectorRupert Wainwright
Writers/ScriptTom Lazarus, Rick Ramage
StarringPatricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne, Jonathan Pryce, Nia Long,  
RatingsIMDb:  6.2 by 63,739 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 22% by 91 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch: Frankie Paige a fun loving young woman who operates a hairdressing salon in Pittsburg, receives a rosary from her mum who bought it in Brazil. Thereafter she starts to suffer from “stignmata”, her wrists appearing to be pierced by nails in the manner of the crucifiction. She suffers a second stigmata event in the metro, which is witnessed by a priest who contacts the Vatican. This results in the arrival of Father Andrew Kiernan who is a former scientist and is now an investigator working on behalf of Cardinal Houseman.  Frankie suffers further torment, and at times seems to be possessed, causing Kiernan to doubt his faith and the sincerity of the Vatican’s representatives.

 Content: No sex, or revelatory nudity, even though the camera is in the bath with Frankie on one occasion. Father Kiernan is seen investigating a statue in Brazil which weeps blood. Frankie has all sorts of visions many of them seeming to have little relationship with anything. She suffers the inflicting of the stigmata with flashes to the possible events relating to the death of Christ. And for those who have not studied this particular affliction the “full set” is holes in the hands and feet, welts on the back from being whipped, scratches on the head from the crown of thorns and finally a gash in the side, from the Roman soldiers spear. 

A View: Even though this film was panned by the critics, possibly because it really makes no sense whatsoever, it was quite well liked by the general public and made money against an estimated budget of $29 million. It is full of quite alarming scenes mostly in the rain in Pittburg (as usual played by Vancouver), and I think the actors did well. It is necessary as well as accepting the wierdness of the premise to also accept the possibility of unlikely co-incidence. So depite the antipathy of the critics worth the cost of a download purely for the stylish presentation. 

Additional Info: Gabriel Burn also played Satan in “End of Days” in the same year, and was nominated for a Razzie as Worst Actor for both. I thought he did well, so what do I know?  

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels



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