At first glance, Ostrov fits into the same category as Stellet Licht and Lake Tahoe: slow, artsy, subtitled, sort of dull. OK, so Ostrov is a little of all of that, but there is a lot more to it than the other two. If you have patience for it, you can glean a solid message of forgiveness and faithfulness here. The monk Father Anatoli lives at a remote Russian Orthodox monastery where he tends the coal fires. Taking monastic austerity to its extreme, he makes the coal bin his cell. He has gained a reputation as a seer and healer; lay people come from around the area for his wisdom and healing touch. Among the monks, he is a prankster and gadfly, drawing the ire of the other fathers.
This is a dark movie, literally. Everything is gray and cold. The sets and story are simple, befitting a remote monastery. But the story and spiritual message stand out all the more against the gray background.
Bottom line: 3 stars.