Daniel experiences a spiritual transformation in a detention centre. Although his criminal record prevents him from applying to the seminary, he has no intention of giving up his dream and decides to minister a small-town parish.
IMDb Rating: 7.6/10
1h 55min | Drama |11 Oct 2019 (Poland) |Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97% Certified Fresh (Critic Reviews) 92% Fresh (Audience Reviews)
Director: Jan Komasa
Writer: Mateusz Pacewicz
Stars: Bartosz Bielenia, Aleksandra Konieczna, Eliza Rycembel
IMDb summary: Daniel experiences a spiritual transformation in a detention centre. Although his criminal record prevents him from applying to the seminary, he has no intention of giving up his dream and decides to minister a small-town parish.
This review was written by Jeremy
Religion can be one of those things that many people don’t like to talk about. And I think that is one thing that works really well in Corpus Christi. It is a film that could easily open up a dialogue about a topic many people shy away from.
And that’s primarily because of its charismatic lead Daniel played brilliantly by Bartosz Bielenia.
Daniel is a young criminal who has aspirations to become a priest. But when he is told by the correction facility’s local priest that they will never accept him into the seminary because of his crimes, this sets something off in Daniel. And Daniel will not take no for an answer. When Daniel is shipped off to the “sawmill” to continue his sentence, he decides that life has other plans for him and he walks to a nearby village.
Daniel “acquired” the priest’s uniform and tells people that he is a priest. And this is where everything that seems so right at the time is so very wrong. Daniel finds himself in a precarious situation of his own making but he’s not about to tell anyone the truth so he continues to fool people into believing he is a priest.
The rest of the film follows Daniel’s journey as he bestows his fake heavenly light upon the village as a makeshift priest. A village rife with hatred and pain after a recent tragic car accident kills several of the town’s people.
When Daniel realises he is in over his head, it’s too late. He is eventually discovered by another juvenile from the sawmill who threatens to expose his secret to the entire village.
Other minor characters are also worth mentioning, such as the town mayor, who seems to enjoy making things difficult for Daniel. Their dynamic on-screen is great to watch as you suddenly see the “true” Daniel slowly trying to pry his way out from beyond the priest’s garb to face the menace head-on. But he can’t give away his secret. At that moment, Daniel is as close to being pious as he would ever get.
Daniel as a character is wonderfully written. He is genuinely trying to help people, even though he knows what would become of him if the truth is ever revealed. As a character, he is hard to dislike. And the direction by Jan Komasa is amazing. When there are conversations happening between different characters, you can really see the emotions on their faces and their undeniable expressions of pain and suffering.
The writing and direction are so fluid, it’s a match made in heaven in terms of what they created and achieved with this film.
What’s important to understand is that this is not a film about religion. It is more a film about the idea of religion being something that only “good” people practice. The reality is a lot less black and white as Daniel represents the very opposite of what a “pious” catholic should be. He is an insult in the face of religion and he is religion’s champion all at once. And that’s what makes this movie worthy of the four stars we’ve given it.