Although Carlos Carrera's EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO starts in a reasonably
promising way, it never amounts to anything other than a slightly
quirky drama. Its slack pacing accentuates the sparseness of its
narrative. Watching it is rather like viewing a long soap opera in
which only the first episode was any good. Even if it was a box office
hit in its native Mexico, EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO is certainly no
Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN, a film which deserves all of the praise that has been heaped on it.
Fresh from seminary, Father Amaro (Gael García Bernal) comes to his
large new parish as the best looking priest in a church with several
clerics. One of the church's most devoted members is a lovely young
woman named Amelia (Ana Claudia Talancón), who teaches catechism classes
to the kids there. She is a frequent practitioner of solo sex, when,
she confesses, she has sexual thoughts about Jesus. As soon as she
lays eyes on Father Amaro, it's pretty obvious that she'll soon be
ditching Rubén (Andrés Montiel), her current boyfriend, in favor of
a young man who has recently taken his vows of celibacy. Once again,
the Catholic Church serves as the favorite whipping boy for movies.
The plot throws in blackmail, drug lords and strange religious rituals
-- communion wafers for cats, no less. Most of the movie, however,
concerns the private tutoring that Father Amaro provides for Amelia.
Under the guise of individual training to become a nun, the two of
them sneak away to a room for secret trysts, while the "retard" in
the next room is forced to listen to their daily groaning.
The film has a "shocking" ending that you can see coming a mile away,
but the story provides us no real reason to care about the characters or the tragedy.
EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO runs 2:00. The film is in Spanish with
English subtitles. It is rated R for "sexuality, language and some
disturbing images" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes