Customer Review

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morbid Yet Fascinating, Terrifying Yet Illuminating, 19 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Devils [VHS] [1971] (VHS Tape)
Let me first say that if you don't like Ken Russell's work, you probably won't enjoy this. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the best films ever made and certainly one of the most harrowing. Released in the same year that saw Polanski's MACBETH and Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, Russell's THE DEVILS, set in medieval France, explores similar themes of a desensitized, hypocritical, and morally bankrupt society in its story of Father Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed in an electrifying performance), a naughty Huguenot priest whose amorous misadventures raise the eyebrows of some of the more "virtuous" residents of the small but heavily fortified French town of Loudun. After the death of its beloved governor, Grandier, his best friend, was put in charge. When he impregnates the magistrate's daughter, also cousin to fellow priest Fr. Mignon, he unwittingly signs his own death warrant. At the same time, Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave, never more formidable), a hunchbacked and sexually frustrated nun, develops a huge crush on him. Unable to deal with her feelings, her lust manifests itself in disturbing visions of a blasphemous nature. Angry when her advances are rejected, she falsely accuses Fr. Grandier of bewitching her and her sisters. Meanwhile, a certain Baron de Laubardemont (a pity Dudley Sutton didn't make it big) complains to the evil Cardinal Richlieau about the fiercely protective Grandier; he and the Cardinal want Grandier out of the way so that they can form France into one giant Church-State. They despise Grandier because of his education, and his ability to see through their chicanery to the truth. When Sister Jeanne's outcries become public, mass hysteria results and Grandier is put in mortal danger. With the help of evil "exorcist" Fr. Barre (Michael Gothard, whose malevolent face and over-the-top delivery put one in mind of the most insincere and corrupt TV faith-healers), Laubardemont, the magistrate, and the rest of Grandier's enemies (along with some bored townsfolk) "prove" to a panel of priestly judges (who wear KKK robes and hoods) that Grandier is not a priest at all, but in fact is a "devil". With some EXTREMELY difficult-to-watch scenes and magnificent period detail, Russell pulls out all the stops to deliver an overpowering and surprisingly relevant warning against superstition and political corruption. When all is said and done, the viewer realizes that the only "devils" in sight are the men of religion and government who exploit the ignorant townsfolk and murder in cold blood in order to obtain power. An utterly horrifying film during whose climax I nearly wept - not because it's sad, per se, but because it's just SO overwhelming. A GREAT film not for the squeamish. All the more powerful in light of the fact that it's based on a true story! Comic relief supplied by a flamboyant, drag-queen King Louis.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Aug 2008 13:07:23 BDT
 says:
I saw this on release and was affected greatly by it. Seeing it again left me with the same sensations. First, the film is great, second, that some of the actors are too contemporary too be believable. A long haired exorcist with modern glasses grates badly in this film. Shame, but much of Russel's work was like that.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

4.1 out of 5 stars (85 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (48)
4 star:
 (20)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (8)
 
 
 
19.79
Add to basket Add to wishlist
A Customer