Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The road to hell is paved with good intentions... (Contains spoilers.), 30 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Beyond the Hills [DVD] (DVD)
I found "Beyond The Hills" moving, though-provoking and disturbing, and I loved it. It is directed by the critically acclaimed Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, known to show life as it is, a master of austere naturalism, disciplined narrative and unforgiving honesty in portraying life in a troubled Eastern European country (and life in the monastery, so isolated from the modern world that it feels medieval).

The film takes place in an Orthodox nunnery in Romania, where Alina has just been reunited with her childhood friend Voichita after spending several years in Germany. The two young women (both actresses shared an award for their outstanding performances at the 2012 Cannes Film festival) shared more than meets the eye, and it is gently let on they were more than just friends. Alina desires Voichita to leave and return with her to Germany, but Voichita has found a new home and family in the religion and the monastery, she refuses to leave. In her attempt to win back Voichita's affection, Alina challenges the father of the convert, challenges the life in monastery and rebels against the religious way of life. She is taken to hospital, her behaviour is manic and violent and the sisters of the monastery start to suspect that she is possessed. The doctor in the Romanian hospital prefers to send her back to recover at the monastery (shockingly offering either a choice of sharing bed with other patient, or be an outpatient). Alina is included in the monastic routine in the hope that she will get better and find piece. But her condition worsens and she finally finds herself tied down (with chains) to a wooden plank (cross) to prevent her from hurting herself. The priest and nuns decide to read her prayers to deliver those possessed by the devil. They perform an exorcism, but the result is not what they had hoped, and the inevitable end follows (with unavoidable conclusion).

This is an extremely powerful film, more so that it is based on a true story. The acting, the cinematography, the atmosphere - everything is flawless (and more than 2 hours of the films just flew past me, I was engrossed and loved every minute of the film). I cannot recommend it enough, more so that it touches important aspects of the everyday life, the clash between religion and civil life, modern world and faith in God, and ultimately, what is right and acceptable and was is not. The director presents the drama as it unfolds, and I felt black and white were never so grey.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions... And who is there to blame?
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Nov 2013 11:51:31 GMT
Roger Boon says:
Contains spoilers

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Nov 2013 12:07:44 GMT
Lola says:
Marked on the review.
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Review Details

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4.1 out of 5 stars (15 customer reviews)
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Lola
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Location: London

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