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The Vatican sends a priest to verify some miracles, performed by a woman who has been nominated for sainthood. During his investigation, the priest, who is experiencing a crisis of faith, re-discovers his own purpose in life. Written by
Yes, don't be late for this movie. What you see at the beginning sequence sets up the rest of the movie. It's the backbone of the plot. You have to take this film in whole. There are flashbacks. There are video playbacks within the film. They are subtle link backs - rather like navigating on the Web, and this Web is one of Ed Harris' character, who is struggling within himself - his mind, heart and soul, wrestling out of his own doubting web of gray matter. It's clicking on memories, description of things happened before, back to the present, rewind to the beginning imageries It's challenging that way - it is a dramatic delivery of a story about humanity, faith, living and loving.
The saint to be or not to be is portrayed by Barbara Sukowa - for me, she can very well be a saint after her passionate performance of 1986 "Rosa Luxemberg", followed with her role in 1991 "Voyager" played opposite Sam Shepard and Julie Delpy. The reason of one leaving a loved one dear to one's heart, like her daughter (Anne Heche) when she was 16, hearkens to Julianne Moore's character in 1999 "The End of the Affair" where she left someone (Ralph Fiennes) she loved wholeheartedly, because of a silent promise to God due to God's answer to one's prayer. This is a similar dilemma Father Frank Shore (Ed Harris) is actually coping with.
Before "The Third Miracle", I didn't realize there's a whole Roman Catholic Church vocabulary unto its own, e.g., postulator, beatify, canonize, saint - these words were described in the dictionary within the breadth of "Roman Catholic Church." Miracle or not, it's up to the believer. How one worships is also to one's own design.
The film, on the surface, may feel rather like a Hollywood drama, yet it is not your usual topic. There are gritty scenes and challenging questions raised against one's attitude to faith. Ed Harris, Anne Heche, Armin Mueller-Stahl are a combination of actors worth watching. Whatever and however your feelings are about the subject of this film, it ultimately celebrates life.
Miraculously for 1999, "DOGMA" is an imaginative, creative piece on the Roman Catholic Church. Writer-director Kevin Smith (1994 "Clerks", 1996 "Chasing Amy") delivered an ensemble cast with Linda Fiorentino (John Dahl's 1994 "The Last Seduction") as the virginal divine connection in the center of it all; Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as the pair of angels in distress; Chris Tucker as the thirteenth apostle; and other colorful characters on this blessed adventure of a satirical religious journey. It's fun. You can tell the actors all have an enjoyable time delivering this fantasy piece!
Along the lines of miracles and controversies, 1995 "GOSPA" (means "Our Lady" in Croatian) is a film about a reportedly true event in Medjugorje, where six children believed they saw the Virgin Mary in 1981, and millions of pilgrims have visited the site since then. It follows the struggle of the parish priest (Martin Sheen) who defended the six children; it becomes more of a political drama with evolving prison and courtroom scenes. Not your usual box office fare.
Also remotely reminded me of the Schwarzenegger's 1999 "End of days", where explosive devilish special effects treatment were used in the course of the redemption of a young woman (Robin Tunney), while "The Third Miracle" provides a more thought provoking film in following the course of a young girl's (Maria) salvation, and even a glimpse into what a Vatican tribunal might have been like. The film is full of details and they came at a subtly non-stop pace, yet director Agnieszka Holland is not thrusting anything at you, rather, the film kind of grows on you after you leave the cinema. If you want something different, try this film - go see it with an open mind.
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