By Lawrence O'Toole
Updated April 26, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

John N. Smith’s extraordinary three-hour film about the sexual abuse of boys in a Newfoundland orphanage run by Christian brothers, inspired by actual events, is more than welcome on video. The subject matter and its uncompromising treatment may be just too sensitive — too harrowing — to watch in a public space. Made for Canadian TV but released in theaters in the U.S., The Boys of St. Vincent is as intricately designed as a stained glass window. And as the malevolent yet tortured Brother Lavin, Czerny is so mesmerizing he may haunt the dreams of the little child within us all. A