Set in rural, 19th-century Europe in the small Jewish village of Silesia, this fable about intolerance is handsome without being especially thought-provoking. Simon (Noah Taylor) is Silesia's village idiot, an orphaned outcast pitied by some townspeople, feared and even despised by others. Tormented by children and forbidden to worship at the temple with the men, he lives in a rundown shack and survives by begging and doing odd jobs for Jews and Christians alike. And he has visions of the Devil (Ian Holm), who encourages him to do mischief and worse. Conceived in the image of holy fools of folk tradition, Simon is a perplexing and often unappealing character through ...