Inspired by true events, 'The Rite' follows skeptical seminary student Michael Kovak, who reluctantly attends exorcism school at the Vatican. While in Rome, he meets an unorthodox priest, Father Lucas, who introduces him to the darker side of his faith. 'The Rite' is a supernatural thriller that uncovers the devil's reach to ...more
Inspired by true events, 'The Rite' follows skeptical seminary student Michael Kovak, who reluctantly attends exorcism school at the Vatican. While in Rome, he meets an unorthodox priest, Father Lucas, who introduces him to the darker side of his faith. 'The Rite' is a supernatural thriller that uncovers the devil's reach to even one of the holiest places on Earth. less
“A brainy debate instead of regular horror's chills & thrills. Worth a watch!”
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Damn, if I look around at the number of exorcism movies to come out over the years I can't remember the last one which wasn't linked to Christianity. Not that I care about religious sentiments, but the same padre or father clutching the cross and sprinkling the holy water can get tedious after fifty or so movies. Add 'The Rite' to that long list of movies and its claim to fame is that it is based on actual events chronicled in the book 'The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist' by author Matt Baglio who attended seminars in the Vatican on the subject of Exorcism where he met father Gary Bishop whose various experiences with exorcisms formed the basis for the book.
Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue) comes from a family where the only two career options for him are to either work under his undertaker father (Rutger Hauer) or take up priesthood, he chooses the latter. But an accident at seminary school only pushes him deeper into a crisis of faith. He begrudgingly accepts to attend a two month course in the Vatican on exorcism. It's here that he's introduced to Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins) whose unorthodox methods of exorcism rile him to a certain extent. Father Lucas's "treatment" of an unwed pregnant girl Rosaria & a little boy cause friction between him and Michael; however certain things that can't be explained start to worry Michael. Are the demons Father Lucas claims to fight real? Or are the "patients" he treats simply delusional in need of psychiatric help? A twist in the tale late into the movie only serves to push Michael further into the thick of things unholy.
To consider 'The Rite' a horror movie would be misleading, it is more of a psychological thriller with a strong supernatural backbone. The movie has some ambitions that movie beyond the usual grotesque shenanigans of the other 'Exorcist' knock-offs. It tries a slower, more understated approach that brings into focus faith, belief and religion more into the focus rather than just token references. However the climax disappoints in resolving complicated matters far too easily and opts for a happy ending to probably please the "crowd".
The movie does contain a few disturbing sequences which are used sparingly in order to enhance the effect. No twisting and turning heads with copious amounts of bile being hurled at the priests here, but nails popping out of mouths are in abundance. One particularly disturbing scene is of sudden physical violence late into the movie by Anthony Hopkins shocked me quite a bit.
Sir Anthony Hopkins is in fine form as the priest who's seen and battled far too many demons, some of his own. His welsh accent however falters from time to time. Colin O'Donoghue has a straight forward role and he plays it off competently. Alice Braga as a journalist looking to uncover the truth behind exorcisms, Ciaran Hinds as a priest teaching exorcism & Toby Jones as Michael's professor at seminary school are all good in their respective roles.
'The Rite' manages to effectively combine horror elements with some interesting theological points about the existence of God visa vie the Devil; A little more nerve towards the end would have made this quite the thriller.