The Devil is in the Belief
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RANT: Went to Denny's last night. Encountered a couple with 4 kids, ages 1 to 12. The parents kept leaving the table, putting the 12 year old in charge. The baby cries and carried on, the next two older screaming for the parents to come back to the table. At long last, their meals came - consisting of one beef ravioli meal for the 6 of them. I do not think the tip to the server is going to be worth the trouble... but that is only my opinion.
SYNOPSIS: A man in the seminary questions whether to complete his training and become a priest. Before making a final decision, he is asked to study in Italy with an experienced exorcist.
The Rite is inspired by some events from a book by Matt Baglio, with the screenplay by Michael Petroni. Mikael Håfström, director of 1408, explores existence of God and the Devil, questions of faith, and the controversial calling of exorcists. Starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and The Tudors Colin O'Donoghue, The Rite is what The Exorcist would be if wholly from the priests' point of view.
Mortician's son Michael Kovak (O'Donoghue) looks to escape his life by entering the seminary -one of two approved career choices for the Kovak men. After four years of religious training, Michael comes to terms with his lack of faith and asks to leave the school. His superior, Father Matthew, tells Michael that there has been 500,000 reports of demonic possession in the last year and that the Vatican was looking to install an exorcist in every diocese across the United States in the coming year. Not only that, Father Matthew sees in Michael something that he feels would excel at the religious trade, and tells Michael to complete his training in Italy before making a final decision about leaving the order. Enter Father Lucas Trevant (Sir Anthony Hopkins) as the long experienced exorcist with the unorthodox methods in the practice.
Håfström uses the camera to capture the ominous nature of ordinary objects. In previous religious suspense thrillers, we were shown the shadowed carvings of the church and diocese. In Håfström's film, the most ordinary overturned shopping carts and swing sets in America and satellite dishes on top of Italian villas take on additional meaning. Does a television antennae on a century's old structure equate to how far a person's faith has come with each new generation? There seem to be subtle reminders throughout the film.
Anthony Hopkins is still an expert of his craft. In no role since Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs has Hopkins portrayed such a chilling character. He is at once vulnerable, weary of the world, as well as possessed by the Spirit. O'Donoghue, although the relative newcomer, paces Hopkin scene for scene, brooding and unbelieving of the hand of God that his deceased mother claimed to be upon him. Rutger Hauer, as Michael's father, is notable as being caring and creepy, but does not hold a candle to the performance that Marta Gastini brings as the pregnant, as possibly possessed, Rosaria. Epitomizing the struggle of belief in demonic possession and the need for exorcism, Rosaria embodies both the fragile little girl in need of psychiatric help and the polluted, possessed girl she believes herself to be.
Ever referential to the best of breed genre film The Exorcist, Father Lucas Trevant asks Michael what he had expected from his first experience - "...spinning heads? Pea soup?" We will never have the same experience as we had during our first viewing of The Exorcist, but The Rite comes in at a worthy second.
Worth: Matinee or DVD
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