When released in 1999, there was a brief outcry from the Catholic church since this movie challenges basic tenets of Catholic faith & presents "The Church", it's internal workings & hierarchial church government in quite an unflattering light, to be sure.
The premise of the story is about an agnostic woman receiving stigmata & even more interesting, an intertwining story about a church cover up dealing with the Gospel Of John and the political maneuvering that works within all organizations, be it church or state.
Patricia Arquette as Gen X, "rave" generation hairstylist, Frankie, the tortured woman who receives ALL of the manifestations of the stigmata. That being two wrists, as opposed to the palms of the hands , two feet, crown of thorns, and the "coup de grace" being the spear through the side. Frankie also exhibits possession and lots of other "Exorcist"-like manifestations.
Gabriel Byrne plays Father Keirnan, a young Jesuit priest-cum-white collared detective as he spans the globe investigating possible sainthood of the devout, weeping Mary statues, stigmata, demon possession and the like, all in the name of the church and at his boss, Cardinal Daniel Houseman's (Jonathan Pryce) direction and discretion.
Fans of TV's Ally McBeal will recognize "Nell"-Portia DeRossi (Mrs. Ellen DeGeneres) in a supporting role as Frankie's fellow employee, Jennifer Kelliho, and Nia Long also has a part as Frankie's friend, Donna Chadway.
The soundtrack to Stigmata is most interesting. Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan and Mike Garson score the movie's music to create a perpetual sense of darkness, evilness, and general unease.
Remy Zero's "Gramarye", Chumbawamba's "Mary Mary", David Bowie charges up for "The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell," a mechanical/NIN sounding song, Afro Celt System with "Release." Natalie Imbruglia and "Identify", "Inertia Creeps" by Massive Attack and the beautiful, "All Is Full Of Love", by the incomparable Bjork.
As a neat Catholic twist, during the final scene in the garden, the statue in the background is of St. Francis of Assisi- in the Catholic belief system, the first person to bear the marks of the stigmata...
I highly recommend this movie and it's kickin' companion soundtrack ASIN: #B00000JYQI.
Happy Watching and Listening!
What did you think of this review?