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The Rite Review

Max’s Rating: 5/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 3.0/10
(2 reviews total)

Let’s be honest: Anthony Hopkins could read the phone book and people would buy a ticket to watch (I would). He’s a treasure to his profession and even in his most sub-par films, he’s never dull to watch. This is the case with his latest film, The Rite.

Yet another religious/horror film inspired by “true events” — the film being based on Matt Baglio’s article The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist — the film is directed by Mikael Håfström (1408). Focusing on skeptical seminary student Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue), who only joined the seminary to get away from being a mortician (clearly he never saw Six Feet Under), The Rite follows Kovak’s crisis of faith prior to taking his final vows as a priest. At the recommendation of his mentor (the underused Toby Jones), Kovak enrolls in a controversial course dealing in exorcisms and demonic possession, leading him to encounter an unorthodox priest in Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), a veteran exorcist living in the Roman countryside.

What follows after their first meeting is what you would expect: Kovak is skeptical, seeking the logical explanations regarding demonic possessions and Lucas is steadfast because he’s older and wiser … and because he’s Anthony Hopkins. Original? Absolutely not. Watchable? You can take it or leave it. It’s not the sharpest exorcism script we’ve seen, but it’s not the worst.

Bear in mind, The Rite is not a horrible film and if The Last Exorcism left a bad taste in your mouth with its ending, you’ll be glad to find some form of resolution here. The pacing can be a little slow and unfortunately O’Donoghue cannot carry the lead role with much presence or depth. This is established well before Hopkins shows up.

Once Hopkins does take the stage, it’s his show and no question the high point of The Rite. Even with a fairly boring and tired script, he still finds a way to make it his own and bring a little life to the role. And damn, the guy can whip out dialogue in several languages/accents with such precision, it can only be described as surgical. The few scenes involving exorcism’s are another high point but again, that’s due to Hopkins’s involvement.

If you’re not a fan of religious-themed horror films, there is no way The Rite will convert you to the group. It has one good thing going for it, and that is Hopkins. Were he not in the film, the score would likely be a touch lower, for without him, all we have is a tired formulaic story about a priest’s crisis of faith. 

Rating: 5/10

The Rite
Directed by Mikael Håfström
Written by Matt Baglio, Michael Petroni
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue, Alice Braga, Ciaran Hinds

Other Player Affinity Reviews

Dinah thought: “Exorcism-related films are rightfully cursed. Predictable and ridiculous, The Rite brings nothing new to the recently revived demonic subgenre. A skeptical priest with no faith in God gets some religion after the devil comes after him. What’s new besides nothing? Anthony Hopkins is effortless in his acting at this point in his career, performing circles around his costars and outpacing his director. The movie runs like a stalled engine, making a lot of noise and getting nowhere. There are various possessions with the same dull characteristics seemingly possessing people through bodily fluids and sadness. Don’t waste your hard earned cash.” Rating 1/10

Player Affinity Composite Rating: 3.0/10 

Rating
3.0

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