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The Rite

A movie directed by Mikael Håfström

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Let the rite one in?

  • Feb 8, 2011

Anthony Hopkins is a wonderful actor. Talented, graceful and capable of inhabiting roles as diverse as a serial killer, a motorcycle enthusiast and a disgraced president. He’s known for wonderful roles in wonderful movies, and therefore it’s somewhat depressing to see him playing a very slightly interesting role in a really not very good movie.

The Rite covers one of the strangest aspects of Catholicism (of which I have a famously low opinon), in that it closely examines the notion of demonic possession and exoercisms. Now exactly why demons/the Devil would want to possess someone is something I’m unclear on. Surely the possessee wouldn’t be held responsible for any sins committed while possessed. Yes, the demons could sow discord among the person’s family and friends, but doubtless there’s easier ways to do that.

Anyhow, the story focuses on a young man, Michael (Colin O’Donoghue) who attends seminary because he figures it’s an easy way to pay for college. After graduation he tries to drop out, gets threatened with having his scholarship turned into a $100k student loan and eventually gets sent to the Vatican to learn all about exorcism. His professor, (Ciran Hinds) is convinced that Michael should go talk with Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), a notable exorcist in the area.

Now this is when the movie gets interesting and stays interesting until the third act. Michael is clearly a skeptic and sees nothing about the “victims” that Father Lucas treats that couldn’t be explained by mental instability. It doesn’t help when he finds out that Father Lucas is not above a few cheap parlor tricks to make his points. Michael becomes more and more convinced that this is all a fraud and becomes more and more interested in an attractive Italian reporter (Alice Braga).

Up to this point the movie very ambiguous as to what’s going on. There’s nothing that we, the audience, along with Michael, can’t handwave away. But then in the third act things get… well, irritating, and the movie takes a turn I wasn’t too happy with. I was willing to accept that in the universe the movie takes place in, what happens on screen is possible, but it made the movie very much less interesting.

It’s almost worth seeing this movie to see Anthony Hopkins turn in yet another excellent performance, but frankly there’s other, better places to see him do that. This was a disappointing movie made even more so because it could have been so much better than it was.

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February 09, 2011
loved that review headline and sweet review. This would've been a lot better if it managed to maintain its momentum and tone past the first half. Thanks!
More The Rite reviews
review by . January 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
2 ½ Stars: This Horror Movie Almost Had The
There are exorcists stationed all around the world. The Vatican have indeed sanctioned a program where each diocese would have an exorcist. This film is based on “true events”. I may believe that the film is indeed based on true events; if very "loosely". The 2011 film “The Rite” is based on the book “The Making of an Exorcist” by Rome-based author Matt Baglio which was published in 2009. Baglio participated in a seminar on exorcism by the Vatican …
review by . May 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****     Mikael Hafstrom went from "Evil" to "Derailed" to "1408", and now, he's gone to "The Rite". Strange, how a filmmaker who can make a horror film as good as "1408" can also manage to make a film as mediocre and disappointing as "The Rite". But then again, "The Rite" is such a different film; more of a drama than a horror film, and only possessing a few good moments whereas "1408" had many scattered throughout. Long story short, it's mildly entertaining, but never …
review by . February 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'The Rite' Two Jews On Film Don't Feel The Spirit With This Supernatural Thriller (Video)
'The Rite' is a supernatural thriller inspired by true events.  The film follows seminary student Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue) who is sent to the Vatican to study exorcism.  Michael is a man with many doubts...not only about demon possession but about his own calling.  He challenges his superiors to look to psychiatry, rather than demons in treating the possessed.      When Michael arrives in Rome he is order to apprentice with the unorthodox …
review by . February 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         There are the possession movies that are really about nothing more than possession. You know these kinds of movies. They exist primarily for the late night movie crowds; they give the guys an excuse to make their dates scream by sneaking up on them and grabbing their shoulders. And then there are the movies that use possession not as a cheap horror gimmick, but as a means for a character or group of characters to come to terms with their faith. …
About the reviewer
C R Swanson ()
Ranked #59
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … more
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