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Director: Mikael Håfström
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue, Alice Braga, Ciarán Hinds, Rutger Hauer, Toby Jones, Chris Marquette, Franco Nero, Torrey DeVitto
RunTime: 1 hr 56 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: NC-16 (Horror & Some Disturbing Scenes)
Official Website: http://whatdoyoubelieve.warnerbros.com/

Opening Day: 10 February 2011

Synopsis: Inspired by true events, "The Rite" follows skeptical seminary student Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue), who reluctantly attends exorcism school at the Vatican.  While in Rome, he meets an unorthodox priest, Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), who introduces him to the darker side of his faith, uncovering the devil’s reach even to one of the holiest places on Earth.

Movie Review:

Another year, another exorcism. Following last year's "The Last Exorcism," Hollywood trots out  Anthony Hopkins to lend some gravitas to the role of Father Lucas Trevant, an experienced mentor-like exorcist who has almost seen it all. His weariness and irritability comes through -- whether that comes from Hopkins or the character is anyone's guess but it becomes front and centre of a film that begins to lose steam midway into the proceedings; a shame given how promising "The Rite" begins.

With a terrific cast of veteran actors supporting Hopkins such as Rutger Hauer, Toby Jones and Ciaran Hinds together with director Mikael Håfström who helmed the genuinely creepy and inventive "1408" -- perhaps one of the better Stephen King adaptations of recent times -- the film has a constant air of quality even as its screenplay by Michael Petroni ("Queen of the Damned") loosely based on Matt Baglio’s book, “The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist" never aspires to anything greater than its B-movie genre trappings. Once again doling out its "Based on true events" credentials -- as if it means anything these days -- in the opening credits, "The Rite" follows Father Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue), a young priest who joins the seminary as a cheaper option to getting a college education but ends up in a month-long course in Rome where he becomes steered towards the practice of exorcism taught by Father Lucas.

Father Michael's skepticism is countered by the pugnaciousness of Father Lucas and their relationship begins revealing, quite predictably but soundly executed, the shades of faith involved in believing in evil and Lucifer -- a requisite for any budding exorcist. It becomes a sparring match of words and ambiguous concepts of truth and illusion that eventually culminate in an irrefutable display of the supernatural, while becoming the film's key selling point is also its weakest aspect. There grows a sense that any higher-minded inquiries were squashed in favour of cheap thrills and even cheaper CGI effects. Once again, a shame seeing its gifted cast of performers tepidly running through lines instead of chomping at the bit for a different, more interesting sort of film.

To his credit, Hopkins -- while not the main character in the film -- does sustain his presence as the main draw of the film. He brings the film out of its doldrums and plays the role with absolute seriousness, giving the proceedings a feeling of solemnity and undue strength that obliterates any sort of suspense the moment the film goes into hyper-scare mode with overwrought set-pieces. "The Rite" is the devil you know -- it fills the canon of this particular sub-genre with a certain air of quality but fails to deliver truly chilling scenes that its material deserves.

Movie Rating:

(The devil you know -- nothing new or scary but sustained by a great scenery-chewing performance by Anthony Hopkins)

Review by Justin Deimen


. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

. The Last Exorcism (2010)

. Legion (2010)

. The Haunting In Connecticut (2009)

. The Eye (2008)

. 1408 (2007)

. The Reaping (2007)

. The Messengers (2007)

. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

. Stir of Echoes 2: The Homecoming DVD (2007)


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