Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Rite

Tonight I saw The Rite, starring Colin O'Donoghue and Anthony Hopkins.

Michael Novak (O'Donoghue) is a seminary student ready to jump ship because he doubts his faith. Father Lucas (Hopkins) is the eccentric priest that the Vatican sends him to for exorcism training when he challenges his instructor. Demon possession arrives.

The story moves a lot slower than typical horror flicks and is significantly less frightening. Sure, there are a fair amount of contorted bodies hissing at the men of cloth, and a notable amount of jumpy moments, but at no point did I ever find myself looking over my shoulder or quivering in fear.

Therein lies the problem.

The topic is not a boring one. Millions of people, including the priests and devout members of the Catholic church, believe in demon possession.

In fact, this specific story is based on truth: the real-life Novak is Father Gary Thomas who currently practices in Saratoga, Calif. and served as a consultant for this film. Exorcisms, though they are rare, really do take place and lives are changed because of them.

Unfortunately, the flat script zaps out all of the the excitement and energy surrounding their rituals.

The acting is fine, though Colin is almost too handsome to be believable, and the character of Angelina (Alice Braga) is completely pointless.

Hopkins will never match his own creepiness as Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, but his performance is acceptable, nonetheless.

I'd just rather have watched a documentary on the subject.


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