Uncategorized

The Rite

The Rite

By Brian Orndorf

“The Rite” declares at the onset that it’s “Inspired by true events.” I’m inclined to believe the claim, as the film keeps true to the slow trickle of existence, taking grand pauses between moments of exorcism intensity. It’s a plodding, toothless crack at devilish doings, leaving much of its charisma to star Anthony Hopkins, who does just about whatever the hell he wants while the rest of the picture waits around for something meaningful to occur. Eternal damnation and flesh-tearing possession never felt more tedious and unprepared.

Raised in a mortuary under the chilling care of his disinterested father (Rutger Hauer), Michael (Colin O’Donoghue) has grown to question faith, electing to attend a seminary to test his atheism. When the faculty senses something special about the young man, they send Michael to Rome to study exorcism at the Vatican, soon pairing him with a veteran, Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), for further training. At first reluctant to believe in demonic expulsion, Michael is shown strange cases of possession, forcing the young man to reconsider his tempting disbelief when the Devil ends up closer than he could ever imagine.

“The Rite” is a suspiciously cautious film that confounds and bores. Director Mikael Hafstrom (“1408”) certainly launches the picture with a confident introspective spirit, instilling the first act of the story with an intriguing mystery as Michael struggles with his religion and education, finding the priesthood unable to fill the emotional holes left behind by the death of his mother and the chilly rejection of his father. There’s much ground to cover in the introductions, making the film’s establishing scenes persuasive, promising a concentrated religious entanglement to confront Michael and his skepticism.

Once Hopkins enters the picture as the impulsive Father Lucas, “The Rite” ceases to display any type of dramatic command. It’s as if Hafstrom wilted once the big name stepped onto the set, with Hopkins chewing scenery as the demented showman of the cloth, growling and barking around the frame in an effort to create a foaming madness equal to the possessed. The change in atmosphere is noticeable, and when the men set out to rip the Devil from a pregnant 15-year-old Italian girl, “The Rite” slows to a crawl, partially out of necessity to explore the protracted exorcism practices.

Unfortunately, once the feature’s engine cools, it never restarts again. Despite some jolts and Hopkins’s trademarked teeth-gnashing roar, “The Rite” goes to sleep, slogging through Michael’s digestion of demonic clues and his painfully superfluous relationship with a fellow student (a droning Alice Braga). It’s difficult to understand if the film is merely poorly directed or if this is all the story was ever going to offer. With the pace halted, the performances hardened, and the mystery barely tended to, “The Rite” fails as a thriller, leaving all this talk of demons, plagues, and lost faith to twist in the wind.

“The Rite” attempts a climatic scenario where Father Lucas and Michael battle for ravaged souls and belief, pitting the men against an internalized enemy of outlandish aggression and showy thespian theatrics. Enter Anthony Hopkins. The resolution drags on for quite an impressive amount of screentime, crippling the film’s lasting impact the more it remains permissive with such hammy acting.

With such an impressive opening, “The Rite” isn’t a complete failure. However, I have to admit, toward the end of this movie, I was rooting for the Devil to win.

Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo Details :

All good audio/video-wise, particularly the Blu-ray, but the only extras are an alternate ending and additional scenes. Yes, weak.

ShareShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest
Click to add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Uncategorized

More in Uncategorized

  • Jupiter Ascending

    To celebrate the release of “Jupiter Ascending”, Moviehole in conjunction with Roadshow Films have some terrific prizes up for grabs! The first winner receives : • 1 x Jambox speakers • 1 x Mens T-shirt or 1 x Womens Hoodie (depending on your sex – if you don’t know it, we can...

  • The Rover

    To celebrate the release of "The Rover" on June 12, Moviehole in association with Roadshow Films has...

  • Come Join Us At a Private Screening of The Raid 2

    Thanks to Madman, Moviehole is giving our readers from Melbourne and Sydney a chance to sneak peek...

  • Win a family getaway thanks to Grown Ups 2

    Win a family getaway thanks to Grown Ups 2 The all-star comedy cast from Grown Ups return...

Login

Lost your password?