Somehow, Father Anatoly, (born again Christian ex rock star Pyotr Mamanov) a rather unorthodox Orthodox monk who lives on the titular Russian Baltic island, is very much his own island.
Anti-social, dirty, and a prankster that both annoys and causes discomfort to his fellow monks, Anatoly is a troubled old man who is harbouring a soul-destroying act that he was forced to commit, over forty years previous.
Strangely, this unkempt and rather obnoxious figure seems to hold healing powers that his superiors do not understand or particularly approve of. A string of characters visit the almost impossible to reach monastery and they target Father Anatoly, who is dressed in rags and not in the Orthodox robes of the others.
This film reminded me so much of the excellent south Korean film 'Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter....Spring', which in some ways is unfortunate for The Island as I am comparing it against the former. That's why I'm awarding 4 stars, not five. Whilst hauntingly beautiful throughout, with its poetically arctic landscapes, it lacks the subtlety and ultimate tenderness that would really make it special. The comical moments are just a little clumsy and some of the miraculous undertakings are a little beyond credibility.
Spiritually, the ending is glorious and special, with the silent soundtrack before rousing to a joyous climax.
I rented this DVD from my local library, showing how diverse and useful their collections can be. Try them!